Zinke proposes extended mining ban on bighorn sheep habitat

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep habitat in the Whiskey Mountain range could be exempt from mining ventures for the next 20 years. ©daveynin

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed extending a ban on mineral extraction on Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) wintering grounds in Wyoming.

The ban would exempt more than 1,400 federal acres from mining ventures for an additional 20 years, through 2040. The area is located in the Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep Winter Range and supports one of the largest wintering herds of bighorn sheep in North America.

“The Trump administration is serious about conservation, and we are backing up our words with action,” Zinke said in a statement. “​I’ve always said there are places where it is appropriate to mine and places it is not..”

The proposed extension is open for a 90-day comment period in the Federal Register.

Read more from the BLM.