- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has introduced legislation to permanently ban new mining in an area of Montana just outside Yellowstone National Park.

The Montana Democrat says responsible natural resource development is an important part of Montana’s economy but the doorstep of Yellowstone is one place that should be protected.

Tester’s proposal would withdraw federal mineral rights on some 30,000 acres of public land in the Custer Gallatin National Forest just north of Yellowstone.

The Obama administration had placed a temporary, two-year ban on mining in the area late last year.

Two gold exploration projects are proposed on private land in the same area.

Tester’s bill would not block projects on private land, but officials have said large-scale mining could be difficult if it’s prohibited on adjacent public land.

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