Industrial Mining Advances in Boundary Waters Watershed


From BHA:

Interior Department moves ahead with renewal of controversial mining leases upstream of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

An administration decision to renew controversial and contested minerals leases in the Boundary Waters watershed in Minnesota jeopardizes a world-class wilderness while advancing industrial development, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers stated today.

BHA has worked for years with a diverse roster of Boundary Waters stakeholders, including sportsmen and women, business owners, community leaders and outdoor recreationists, to uphold the region’s unique fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor opportunities.

Land Tawney, BHA president and CEO, decried today’s announcement, which would reverse a popular 2016 decision to withdraw the leases and ensure the Boundary Waters is conserved.

“The administration’s decision to prioritize sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters – particularly in light of the 180,000-plus comments from members of the public urging restraint – suggests a disregard for the will of American citizens who rely on the region’s outdoors-dependent economy,” said Tawney.

“Today’s announcement is a travesty,” Tawney continued. “Mining in the Boundary Waters at the scale proposed not only would hurt wildlife such as northern pike, walleye and whitetails; it also would weaken a $1.6 billion outdoor recreation economy. We urge the administration to reverse course and conserve, not develop, this storied hunting and fishing destination.”

BHA has a large, established chapter in Minnesota that is strongly invested in the future of the Boundary Waters, confirmed Minnesota BHA chapter Co-Chair Aaron Hebeisen, who lives in Lake City.

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the most visited wilderness area in the country, makes Minnesota No. 1 in the country for fishing licenses sold per capita,” said Hebeisen. “Fishing Opener is a holiday in Minnesota. It always falls on Mother’s Day weekend, and in our family, you either ate fish for dinner on Mother’s Day or else you took Mom out because you didn’t catch any fish.

“The Boundary Waters is a key part of Minnesotans’ cultural identity,” Hebeisen concluded, “the last piece of wilderness we can claim as our own. We take pride in its grandeur and solace. Fighting the decision to reinstate the mining leases is the best decision we can make for the future of wild places in our state.”

The BWCAW encompasses more than 1 million acres of pristine fresh water and forests and provides opportunities to hunt, fish, canoe, hike and camp that have been enjoyed by generations of public lands users. BHA members have joined with Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters and others to raise awareness of the threat the Twin Metals mine proposal poses for the area’s long-term protection.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.

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  1. The proposed mining is not and I repeat is not in the Boundary Waters. It would take place outside of the BWCAW and the mining buffer area that surrounds the BWCAW. The 1.6 billion dollar tourism industry sounds nice until you try and raise a familyworking a tourism job. Tourism jobs pay approximately 27,000 a year with little to no benefits meanwhile mining jobs pay 85,000 a year with benefits. The economy in NE Minnesota continues to decline due to the lack of tourists coming to the BWCAW. The median age of a visitor is now 49 how long do you think they will keep coming here. The younger generation is not interested in a wilderness experience they want amenities like wifi, TV, pools and beds t come back to everyday.

    Modern mining isn’t the same thing as 100 years ago . New technology and safe guards make it safer than it ever was. The current permitting process takes years to go through and has to be approved not only by the state but federal agencies to. Renewing the mineral leases is the right thing to do for Northeast Minnesota and the people who live here. We have taken care of the land and water so that people can come and play where we live. If we didn'[t think it could be done safely we would oppose it to.

  2. Susan Scufsa on

    First and foremost. There will NEVER be mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Secondly, there is a buffer zone which also protects the BWCA. Third, the SNF and CNF are designated multiple use. When you live here, you can talk about the tourism industry. It is diminishing on a yearly basis. The only jobs provided are mostly minimum wage, seasonal jobs without benefits. Try to live on those once. The only people making money on tourism are the business owners. Mining has sustained us for over a hundred years. New technology proves it can be done safely. You wouldn’t even know they exist unless you battled your way through mosquitoe infested swamps to get there. Sorry, the tourism industry can peacefully coexist.

  3. Elizabeth Eloranta on

    I don’t even know where to begin with this article, so many lies and exaggerations. First of all, industrial mining.? Versus what , primitive mining? Isn’t all mining industrial? It is on the Iron Range! The BWCA is not a pristine wilderness, it has been logged at least twice. And the opportunities to hunt, fish, camp etc, are only available to the able bodied. Thanks to the banning of motors, a segment of the population get left out. Mining has been going on in northeastern Minnesota for over 130 years. Minnesota has some of the strictest environmental laws in the world, that won’t change when mining begins NEAR the Boundary Waters.

  4. Terry Carlson on

    When exaggerations, lies, and misconceptions are made to “prove” a point, one wonders exactly how much funding is at stake from the radical special interest groups. There is so much Soviet-style disinformation in this article that the KGB is green with envy . . . which, aside from the money, is the only true “green” that is advocated herein.

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