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RELEASE: Boundary Waters Action Fund launches its 2024 campaign, endorses President Biden as a Boundary Waters Champion



For Immediate Release

February 27, 2024

Contact: Libby London, 612-227-8407


On the heels of Nikki Haley’s visit to Minnesota last night, Minnesota precinct caucuses today, and with Super Tuesday next week, the question of what the 2024 election has in store for the Boundary Waters looms.

Ely, MN – As the 2024 election heats up, the Boundary Waters Action Fund (BWAF) announced the launch of its 2024 election program and endorsed President Biden. This program builds off of BWAF’s successful program over the past five years which elevated the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining in the headwaters of the Boundary Waters to one of the top public lands issues in the nation. 2024 will be a key deciding year for the future of the effort to protect the Boundary Waters from this kind of environmentally detrimental mining practice, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes as America’s most toxic industry.


In January of last year, the Biden administration took a historic step by issuing Public Land Order 7917 (PLO), which banned toxic copper mining on 225,504 acres of Superior National Forest land in the watershed of the Boundary Waters and upstream of the Wilderness for 20 years. The PLO, also called a “mineral withdrawal,” came after the Forest Service published a comprehensive scientific review that found that sulfide-ore copper mining would pollute the Boundary Waters in ways that could not be fixed or mitigated.

 

“President Biden has a proven track record of protecting unique and irreplaceable public lands, including the Boundary Waters watershed. Last year, his administration issued the most significant conservation measure in decades for the Boundary Waters by issuing Public Land Order 7917, which protected 225,504 acres of federal lands in the watershed of America’s most visited Wilderness from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining for 20 years," said Alex Falconer, Director of the Boundary Waters Action Fund. “President Biden agrees with 70% of Minnesotans who want permanent protection from copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters, and we are excited to endorse and support President Biden in his race.”

The commitment demonstrated by the Biden administration, along with strong public support, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding this treasured Wilderness area from permanent damage caused by sulfide-ore copper mining pollution. However, the protection that the Biden administration issued is for 20 years. Rep. Stauber is pushing to unravel the Public Land Order, and earlier this year, he endorsed Trump, very likely due to Trump’s anti-Boundary Waters track record.

“It’s evident that Rep. Stauber has put himself firmly in Trump’s camp, as Rep. Stauber and Trump share a desire to see the Boundary Waters destroyed in the name of profits for a foreign mining conglomerate. Based on his track record, Trump cannot be counted on to protect the Boundary Waters,“ added Falconer.

Rep. Stauber fast-tracked legislation to reverse the PLO by introducing H.R. 3195, the “Superior National Forest Restoration Act,” and House Concurrent Resolution 34 of disapproval. These measures would rescind the Biden administration’s historic decision to protect the headwaters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for 20 years from sulfide-ore copper mining. “The Superior National Forest Restoration Act” is a misleading name; it would force the government to issue federal mining leases and mining prospecting permits, additional leases, and mine plans on an expedited timeline. Another harmful resolution, H. Resolution 987, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month. The resolution, titled “Denouncing the harmful, anti-American energy policies of the Biden administration, and for other purposes,” condemns the Biden administration’s conservation efforts as an affront to domestic production – and specifically condemns last year's historic mining ban in the watershed of the Boundary Waters.


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.


The Boundary Waters is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 165,000 visitors from all over the world. It is a major driver of the regional economy, supporting hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. A vast collection of peer-reviewed science shows that if a Twin Metals copper-nickel mine were built along the rivers and streams flowing into the Wilderness pollution and environmental degradation would be certain. A peer-reviewed independent study from Harvard University showed that protection of the Boundary Waters from a proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore copper mine would result in dramatically more jobs and more income over a 20-year period.



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