White House review of mining near BWCA drawing criticism and praise

Featured photo: Lake One at Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Photo by News Correspondent Scott Williams. 

Senator Tina Smith is applauding the White House’s review of sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters.

The study was halted in 2018 during the Trump Administration.

The two-year study will determine the safety of copper-nickel mining in the watershed that feeds the Boundary Waters.

The US Departments of Agriculture and Interior will complete the work. Smith says the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is “irreplacable and known… across the world as a unique resource” and “we cannot afford to be wrong about its protection,” acknowledging the tradition of mining in northeastern Minnesota.

Republican state representative Spencer Igo from Grand Rapids says the announcement shows a “blatant disregard for communities on the Iron Range” who rely on mining to boost the region’s economy.

The results of the study, which would review environmental, economic, recreational and cultural impacts, could possibly result in a 20-year ban on such mining in the region.

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