Beto O’Rourke Backs Boundary Waters Protection

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

October 16, 2019

O’Rourke joins growing list of presidential candidates pledging Boundary Waters Wilderness protection

Des Moines – Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke joined a growing number of presidential candidates in support of protection for Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. The Boundary Waters, America’s most popular Wilderness, is currently under attack from Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta’s Twin Metals project, a sulfide-ore copper mine proposed right on the Wilderness edge.

In highlighting O’Rourke’s commitment to support permanent protection of the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park from sulfide-ore copper mining in the Rainy River watershed, the campaign said:

“Beto understands the perils of potential leakage from hard rock mining into the streams that flow into the Boundary Waters. . . Every lever of government action must be considered to protect the Boundary Waters, and as president, Beto will work with Congress to ensure that public lands are protected from such dangerous activity.”

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.  

“We’re excited that Congressman O’Rourke has joined the growing list of presidential candidates pledging Boundary Waters protection,” said Alex Falconer, Boundary Waters Action Fund Director. “As the Trump administration continues its national assault on public lands, presidential candidates are realizing that Boundary Waters protection is key to a comprehensive environmental agenda that protects America’s most special places.”

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.


The Boundary Waters Action Fund is a 501c(4) nonprofit organization founded to permanently protect America’s most visited wilderness, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and Voyageurs National Park.  Boundary Waters Action Fund supports candidates who are committed to protecting the Wilderness and Voyageurs at the federal and state levels from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed of the Boundary Waters.