Time is Running Out for The Boundary Waters


These leases were terminated in 2016, yet now the DOI is trying to force them through without completing a full Environmental Impact Statement to analyze and assess the full range of potential negative impacts.

It is not a matter of IF, but WHEN a spill occurs.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is an important water source for many thousands of Americans. It provides critical habitat, and serves as one of the most popular recreation destinations in the nation.

Talking Points

  • A vast majority of Minnesotans and Americans want the Boundary Waters protected from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. Seventy percent of Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters and over 94% of the 125,000 public comments on the proposed mining ban urged protection. Nearly 56,000 citizens submitted additional comments during a second comment period.

  • The Trump Administration is suppressing important scientific information about the danger sulfide-ore copper mining poses to the Boundary Waters. The US Department of Agriculture abruptly cancelled a two-year study on the impacts of copper mining on lands and communities near the Boundary Waters. The study would have shown the harm sulfide-ore copper mining would have done. The Trump administration has refused to make public the underlying ecological, public health, and economic reports prepared during the study. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, metal mining is the nation’s #1 toxic polluter, and a wide body of rigorous scientific literature shows the near inevitability of pollution flowing into and severely damaging the Boundary Waters. Protecting the Boundary Waters is the smart economic choice.

  • The BWCA is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 155,000 visitors from all over the world and helps drive more than $900 million in economic activity every year and over 17,000 jobs. A recent independent study from Harvard University showed that protecting the Boundary Waters from the Twin Metals mine would resulted in dramatically more jobs and income over a year 20 year period.

  • Trump’s scandal-plagued Department of Interior is doing an end-run around the environmental review process to ram through mineral leases for a Chilean mining boss who is also Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s landlord. Since assuming power in 2017 the Trump Administration has been ignoring science, facts, and the will of the people by systematically unwinding protections for the Boundary Waters at the behest of Antofagasta.Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned amid more than a dozen investigations into his conduct, including his ties to a Halliburton-backed land deal in Montana and doing favors for lobbyists. Under Zinke, the Interior has been a cesspool of conflicts of interest and industry lobbyist access.

  • Antofagasta has a history of environmental disaster and political corruption in its homeland. Antofagasta was found guilty by the Chilean Supreme Court of harming residents of a community when Antofagasta located its tailings dam upstream, polluting the groundwater and blocking a critical source of water on which the community depended.They were responsible for the highest number of toxic spills in the region of Coquimbo, including one spill which dumped 13,000 liters of copper concentrate directly into a river. They faced a fine of $23.8 million and closure of its biggest copper mine in Chile over violations of its environmental permit, including water pollution. Antofagasta has been implicated in a number of bribery and corruption scandals, including with a high-ranking Chilean cabinet minister, a questionable $10 million dollar loan to the daughter-in-law of the Chilean president, and tax fraud.