Bernie Sanders Pledges Support for Boundary Waters Protection

Three of the four top polling presidential candidates now support protecting Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness

Des Moines – Today, Bernie Sanders pledged support for protecting Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining, bringing the total number of candidates pledging support to eight, including three of the top four polling candidates. The Boundary Waters, America’s most popular Wilderness, is currently under threat from Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta’s Twin Metals project, a sulfide-ore copper mine proposed right on the Wilderness edge.

The Obama Administration had terminated the project after a thorough scientific review determined the mine posed an almost certain risk of “irreparable harm” to the Wilderness, but the Trump Administration revived the project after Antofagasta’s owner, Andronico Luksic, bought a Washington, DC, mansion and rented it to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. The administration has since cancelled environmental reviews and used unlawful legal maneuvers to push the project forward.  

In committing to protect the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park from sulfide-ore copper mining in the Rainy River watershed, Sen. Sanders pledged to complete a cancelled mineral withdrawal study for the Boundary Waters watershed and said that he would work with Congress to permanently protect the Boundary Waters. 

“We’re thrilled that Senator Sanders is pledging Boundary Waters protection and standing up against the corporate greed of international mining companies looking to exploit and destroy America’s most special places,” said Alex Falconer, Boundary Waters Action Fund Director. “Nearly all the top tier candidates are on the record supporting Boundary Waters protection, because the more they learn about the issue, the more obvious it becomes that protecting America’s most popular Wilderness is the right thing to do.”

Seventy percent of Minnesota voters do not want sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters, including 91 percent of Democrats. 

In Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, where the mine would be located, nearly 80 percent of Democrats are opposed. Overall, 56 percent of 8th Congressional District voters are opposed, while only 39 percent are in support. 

The Action Fund is asking campaigns to make clear statements on this issue so the public can make informed decisions when it comes time to decide whom they will support. To date the Action Fund has nearly 4,000 Iowa supporters and continues to activate supporters in Iowa and other states.