BWCAW Closer to Full Protection from Sulfide Mines! Great News

March 1, 2022
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Today the US Department of Interior announced that after analyzing the Twin Metals permits, a proposed sulfide mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, they found that the permits had been illegally issued by the Trump administration. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota is America’s most-visited wilderness area. It offers paddlers 1,200 miles of canoe routes and 2,000 designated campsites. It has a million-acres of lakes and forests.

The proposed sulfide mine would have been built within the watershed of the Boundary Waters and any pollution from the project would have flowed into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Sulfide mines create sulfuric acid when the mine waste mixes with water. There isn’t a sulfide mine in the world that hasn’t polluted and sulfide mining is considered part of the most polluting industry in the US.

In 2016, the renewal was denied by the US Forest Service because of the potential “environmental contamination of the surrounding watershed.” At the same time, the US Forest Service started a study to determine whether or not a 20 year moratorium of sulfide mining on the Superior National Forest was warranted.

After the 2016 election, the foreign owner of the Twin Metal mine bought a mansion in Washington D.C., and then he rented it to the daughter of Trump. After that, the Trump administration illegally renewed the permits and cancelled the study shortly before it was completed. Journalists tried to get the study released via Freedom of Information Request, but the Trump administration refused to release it. Instead, the administration completely blacked out the entire study and released pages of only black ink.

The Biden administration is currently considering a 20-year withdrawal of the lands around the Boundary Waters from mining. Public comment recently ended. It plans to complete a study of the issue.

This is great news for Americans, paddlers and lovers of wilderness.

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