The Save the Boundary Waters campaign is rallying supporters to fight back against Congressman Rick Nolan’s recent move asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reverse a decision halting mining exploration in the Superior National Forest on the edge of the BWCA.
The organization is hosting two community presentations in the Twin Cities this week to discuss the future of the BWCA and strategies to protect it from sulfide-ore copper mining.
The federal government decided in December not to renew mineral leases held by Twin Metals that it needed to move ahead with an underground copper-nickel mine near Ely.
Nolan’s actions drew immediate criticism from Save the Boundary Waters and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum. She called the recent decision to halt Twin Metals’ plans a “victory for every Minnesotan who cares about preserving clean water, clean air, and pristine wild lands.”
She said Nolan’s request puts the BWCA at risk. “Particularly disturbing is that Representative Nolan thinks the Trump administration will make its decision using ‘science and facts,’ which puts an outrageous amount of faith in an administration that denies climate science and has openly peddled ‘alternative facts,'” she said.
Nolan responded to the criticism with a statement noting that he’s an original co-sponsor of the legislation that established the BWCA as a wilderness area and is “forever committed to protecting the BWCA, the environmental review process and all the waters of Minnesota and the nation.”
He called the halt on mining exploration misguided. “Denying any business activity before you know what it is — and what kind of pollution abatement technology they will use or how effective it will be — lacks common sense and subverts the good, thorough and elaborate environmental review process we have in place,” he said.
Save the Boundary Waters will hold presentations Feb. 6 in Minnetonka and Feb. 8 in Shoreview.