New Bill Seeks to Repeal Environmental Protections for Minnesota

Boundary Waters sunset | Photo: Thomas O'Keefe

Representative Tom Emmer has just introduced a misguided bill that strips Minnesota of bedrock environmental protections and presents a direct threat to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This bill would make it easier for a foreign company to mine sulfide-ore copper along lakes and rivers that flow into the Wilderness. The bill is also co-sponsored by Minnesota Congressmen Collin Peterson and Jason Lewis.

This unprecedented bill would completely circumvent a proven environmental review process that has been in place for nearly 50 years, flout nearly 126,000 public comments in support of mining withdrawal in the Boundary Waters, and allow for a foreign mining company with a terrible history of environmental violations to build dangerous sulfide-ore copper mines on the edge of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

If passed, this legislation would endanger the Superior National Forest, protected for more than 100 years, and put Minnesota's national treasure, the Boundary Waters, at risk. This project could destroy America’s most visited Wilderness area, which is why it was included as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2013.

The proposed bill would undermine years of existing law by requiring congressional approval for any mineral withdrawal or National Monument designation in the Superior National Forest and retroactively grant the renewal of two mineral leases held by Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, despite these leases previously being denied due to the extreme environmental risk they posed to the Wilderness. The bill would also set a harmful precedent for all of our nation’s special wild places.

Send a message to your Representative today and tell them you are opposed to this bill and want to see the Boundary Waters protected, not put at risk from sulfide-ore copper mining.

If you want to do more, call using the Congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121. Choose the House of Representatives, enter your zip code, and you will be connected to your Representative's office.