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    Know the Science: The Biden administration must protect the Boundary Waters through a mineral withdrawal

    Proposed Sulfide-Ore Copper Mining Threatens Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and other parts of the Superior National Forest; Voyageurs National Park; Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park; and public health and the regional economy of northeastern Minnesota

    President Biden can save America’s most-visited Wilderness Area. The Trump Administration created a huge threat to the Boundary Waters by ramming through two federal mining leases for Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta’s Twin Metals. Those mineral leases, which were terminated in 2016, cannot lawfully be reinstated and renewed. The Trump Administration actions also included its abrupt cancellation of a promised environmental assessment of a proposed 20-year ban on copper mining on Superior National Forest lands upstream from the Boundary Waters. The Trump Administration claimed that no new scientific information existed, even though dozens of reports and studies were submitted during the public comment period. Cancellation of the environmental assessment and the rush to resurrect federal mineral leases were part of an effort to aid the mining company by suppressing rigorous science and sound economic analysis.

    President Biden should halt this threat to these magnificent public lands and waters by initiating a mineral withdrawal: the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service can recommend that the Secretary of the Interior exercise her authority under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to withdraw the federal lands within the Boundary Waters watershed from the mineral leasing program for twenty years.

    The mineral withdrawal process would start with a two-year segregation period for the federally owned minerals within Boundary Waters watershed. The segregation period would allow land managers to weigh carefully the impacts of proposed sulfide-ore copper mining before granting companies the right to mine near the Boundary Waters. This public, transparent process would enable sound science to prevail and encourage robust public involvement in determining the future of the Boundary Waters region.

    More than 55 scientific and economic studies document the significant and long-lasting harm to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the surrounding Superior National Forest lands and waters, and the Arrowhead region if copper mining were permitted to occur in the Boundary Waters watershed. In 2016 the Forest Service concluded that copper mining in the Wilderness watershed would be an unacceptable risk to the lakes, rivers, and wetlands of the Boundary Waters and large portions of the rest of the Superior National Forest.

    The Boundary Waters is America’s most visited National Wilderness Area.

    The Boundary Waters is a 1.1 million acre national Wilderness Area, with more than 1,000 lakes and 1,200 miles of rivers and streams containing clean, drinkable water. It is a vast, accessible public land and water resource that offers unmatched fishing, hunting, and recreational opportunities that hundreds of thousands of Americans enjoy every year.

    The Boundary Waters is the heart of the sustainable and growing amenity-based economy of northeastern Minnesota. An independent economic study documents that the region would generate dramatically more jobs and more income over 20 years if copper mining were banned from the watershed of the Boundary Waters; the regional economy would be worse with Antofagasta’s Twin Metals mine.

    Below you will find scientific and economic reports that the Trump Administration said do not exist.

    Please do your part to protect the Boundary Waters and other protected lands and waters by using and sharing this science:

    SUMMARY: Boundary Waters Science

    Fact Sheet: Mineral Withdrawal Is Necessary and Appropriate Tool for Protecting the Boundary Waters
    Technical Memorandum: Twin Metals Mining and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Risk Assessment for Underground Metals Mining
    Technical Memorandum: Twin Metals Mining and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Risk Assessment for Underground Metals Mining (2014)
    Technical Memorandum: Potential Metals Mining and the Voyageurs National Park Risk Assessment for Upstream Metals Mining
    Acid mine drainage risks – A modeling approach to siting mine facilities
    in Northern Minnesota USA
    Technical Memorandum Twin Metals Mine and the Peter Mitchell Pit
    Technical Memorandum: Twin Metals Mining and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
    Wilderness, Identifying Flow Pathways
    Scoping Comment on N. MN Federal Mineral Withdrawal
    Increase in Nutrients, Mercury, and Methylmercury as a Consequence of Elevated Sulfate Reduction to Sulfide in Experimental Wetland Mesocosms
    The Evolution of Sulfide in Shallow Aquatic Ecosystem Sediments: An Analysis of the Roles of Sulfate, Organic Carbon, and Iron and Feedback Constraints Using Structural Equation Modeling
    Forest and terrestrial ecosystem impacts of mining
    Monitoring disturbance intervals in forests: a case study of increasing forest disturbance in Minnesota
    Potential for Acid Mine Drainage in the Duluth Complex Magmatic PGE Deposits
    White Paper:An Overview of Mine Facilities and Issues
    Follow-Up Report: Acid Mine Drainage and other Water Quality Problems at Modern Copper Mines Using State-of-the-Art Prevention, Treatment, and Mitigation Methods
    Cumulative Effects Analysis on Wildlife Habitat and Travel Corridors in the Mesabi Iron Range and Arrowhead Regions of Minnesota
    The Minnesota regional copper-nickel study, 1976-1979
    Risks and costs to human health of sulfide-ore mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
    Mercury Levels in Blood from Newborns in the Lake Superior Basin
    Public Health and Economic Consequences of Methyl Mercury Toxicity to the Developing Brain
    Medical Professionals’ Scoping Letter to USFS&BLM
    Physician comment letter to USFS re Mineral Withdrawal
    The Four Townships Area Economic, Housing, and Development Survey
    Minnesota Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment 2014
    Minnesota Climate and Health Profile Report
    Comment Re: Northern Minnesota Federal Minerals Withdrawal
    The Boundary Waters Canoe Area….Wealth Generator 
    The Economic Role of Metal Mining in Minnesota: Past, Present, and Future
    Regional Economic Impacts of Boundary Waters Wilderness Visitors
    Township residents power Ely-area economy
    Township Impact: In copper-nickel debate, we all should consider economic costs as well as gains
    An Econometric Analysis of the Effect of Mining on Local Real Estate Values
    A Review of “The economic impact of ferrous and non-ferrous mining on the State of Minnesota and the Arrowhead Region”
    Earthworks – US Copper Porphyry Mines

    2019 Update: U.S. Operating Copper Mines Failure to Capture & Treat Wastewater

    A Review of the “Report on Mount Polley Tailings Storage Facility Breach, Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel”
    Long Term Risks of Tailings Dam Failure
    Earthworks – Polluting the Future
    Strategies for reducing the carbon footprint of copper: New technologies, more recycling or demand management?
    Comparison of Predicted and Actual Water Quality at Hardrock Mines
    Adverse effects from environmental mercury loads on breeding common loons
    Acid Mine Drainage and Effects on Fish Health and Ecology
    Common Loon Reproductive Success in Canada – the West is best but not for long
    AFS Position Paper and Policy on Mining and Fossil Fuel Extraction
    Rainy River-Headwaters Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Report
    WaterLegacy Petition Withdrawal of Program Delegation from the State of Minnesota for NPDES Permits Related to Mining Facilities
    The science, summarized.
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