Update: U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke finalized the 20-year mining ban in October.
The U.S. Forest Service issued an environmental report recommending a 30,000-acre, 20-year mining ban north of Yellowstone National Park, citing impacts to water, wildlife, and recreation in Montana. The ban would exempt current mining stakes but would prevent new ones, like the mineral exploration proposals currently on the table by companies Lucky Minerals and Crevice Mining Group. The analysis also cited fewer mining jobs—down to just 53 in the area. The move was first proposed by President Obama and is now backed by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. While it’s a win for the environment, it comes amid recent allegations that Zinke gives preferential treatment to his home state, Montana. Perhaps if he were from Utah, we could also protect Bear’s Ears.