September 22, 2019
Following the Trump Administration’s unprecedented violation of conservation law, granting Chilean-owned mining company, Antofagasta and its subsidiary, Twin Metals mining leases within the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Boundary Waters Action Fund is working to educate presidential candidates about the issue and ask for their pledge to prevent mining within the Boundary Waters watershed.
Home to a world class hiking, canoeing, fishing, and hunting experience, the Boundary Waters is a national treasure. This pristine water-based Wilderness includes 1,200 miles of canoe and kayak routes, 237.5 miles of overnight hiking trails and 2,000 designated campsites. The Boundary Waters is America’s most visited wilderness with about 150,000 visitors annually.
Tourism supports nearly 17,000 jobs and brings $850 million in sales to the region. The communities in and around the Boundary Waters depend on the recreation and tourism economy, which is directly threatened by the prospect of a sulfide-ore copper mining being permitted within the watershed.
While Minnesota is no stranger to the mining industry, this type of mining has never been done in the state and has never been done safely. The proposed mining sites are upstream from the Wilderness and toxic pollution could drain into and permanently pollute lakes and rivers lying in the heart of the Boundary Waters.
After the mining leases expired in 2016, the Forest Service made a science-based determination that this type of mining could not be done safely in this area and proposed a permanent withdrawal of mining leases within the Boundary Waters watershed. Defying bipartisan legal precedent, the Trump Administration reissued the leases without scientific justification and prematurely halted a study to determine the dangers of mining in this area.
The next occupant of the White House has an opportunity to fix this unprecedented action and permanently protect the Boundary Waters from the likely destruction caused by a foreign-owned mining company. Presidential candidates make countless pledges, but pledging to protect this special place is an easy commitment based on science and facts.
Our campaign has been in steady communication with all of the presidential campaigns and to-date we have received a number of commitments. We are asking candidates to complete our questionnaire and pledge their support.
Over the weeks and months to come we will be using this page to provide updates on our campaign, latest from the candidates on this important issue, and the latest events impacting the Boundary Waters.