New step taken to protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore mining

Great Northern Diver, a flagship species of the Boundary Waters. Photo: Peter Prokosch

by Steve Piragis

The Campaign To Save The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota is a large-scale LT&C-Example, where one of the United States of America’s largest wilderness areas is at stake. Here our member, Steve Piragis, who is a main supporter of the campaign, provides us with a most recent update:

Steve Piragis (in the centre, holding a poster), with his company, is a major supporter of the c campaign to save the Boundary Waters

The ultimate goal of our campaign is to pass permanent protection of the entire Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed through Congress. A small step in that direction was achieved this month with the passage of the bill out of committee in the House of Representatives. This allows the law to go to a vote of the full House. The next step is to get a similar bill written and sponsored in the US Senate. The final passage could happen this fall if all goes well, and the President could sign it into law before the next session of Congress in January.  

In the interim, the Biden administration has taken a significant step to administratively protect the watershed from sulfide ore mining. The US Forest Service released a scientific study last month that unequivocally outlines the potential for ecological harm to the wilderness should sulfide-ore copper mining be allowed in the watershed. Because the US government owns the mineral rights to mine, the Forest Service has recommended to the Interior Department that they institute a 20-year withdrawal or moratorium on any new mineral leasing for this type of mining in the watershed. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is likely to rule on that request also before the end of 2022.

Twin Metals Mining, a Chilean-owned copper mining company, is suing the government to return its mineral leases that were refused renewal under President Obama, returned under Trump and again denied under President Biden. The only form of final protection that is likely to stand the test of time will be the passage through Congress and the enactment of a law.

Thanks for continuing to follow this fight protection of our country’s most popular wilderness area. Our business, local prosperity and clean water are all at stake here.  

See www.savetheboundarywaters.org for more information and updates.  

East Atlantic Flyway Week

When: April 20, 2023 – April 27, 2023 all-day
Where: Schutzstation Wattenmeer Seminar House on Hallig Langeness, German Wadden Sea, Peterswarf, 25863 Langeneß, Germany
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