Path to Permanent Protection

2021 is our best chance to permanently protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining. We continue to work on several fronts focused on permanently prohibiting sulfide-ore mining in the Boundary Waters watershed. Our path to permanent protection includes:

  • re-initiating a federal mineral withdrawal
  • passing a permanent protection bill in Congress and the MN legislature
  • ongoing litigation to terminate the unlawful leases
  • using science to push back against the proposed mine plan 
  • revising the state's rules regulating mining

This page summarizes many of the approaches we are working on in 2021, and highlights those where we need your help. These actions will change throughout the year, so please check back often to help us win permanent protection for the Boundary Waters.

Nearly 70% of Minnesotans support permanent protection for the Boundary Waters. Are you one of them? Join the fight by taking asking the Biden-Harris administration to protect the Boundary Waters:

100 days of Action to Save the Boundary Waters:

A multi-week campaign to demonstrate the overwhelming support to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining.

Learn more about the issue and to test your existing knowledge.

Questions & Media Inquiries

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum introduced HR 2794 - the Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act in the 117th Congress. The bill would forever ban sulfide-ore copper mining on federal lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. It is important to have broad co-sponsorship of this bill by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Minnesota Reps. Kelly Morrison and Jim Davnie and Minnesota Sen. Steve Cwodzinski are authoring a state Boundary Waters Permanent Protection Bill (HF 840 & SF 763). This bill would permanently ban sulfide-ore copper mining on state lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. Take action below to urge your Minnesota Representative and Minnesota Senator to co-author this important bill. Read our factsheet about the bill here.

Thank You to Our Supporters

The U.S. Forest Service should re-initiate a “mineral withdrawal” or ban - an administrative process that uses science to decide if sulfide-ore copper mining is acceptable in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. If the federal government decides it is not acceptable, as it did in 2016, no federal mineral leases could be granted for 20 years. Once a process is begun, your voice in support of permanent protection will be critical. 

Twin Metals wants to conduct more prospecting and exploratory drilling in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. A federal environmental review of prospecting permits may commence as early as summer 2021. Your participation will be critical.

MAY 10 UPDATE: A lawsuit filed by Save the Boundary Waters along with the Wilderness Society and the Center for Biological Diversity, reached an agreement that requires the Bureau of Land Management to revisit its decision to renew 13 of the Twin Metals prospecting permits. This is an important action to start to restore proper and lawful process, and informed decision-making, about copper mining on the doorstep of the Boundary Waters. The Biden Administration has lots of work ahead to repair the damage of the last 4 years and protect this irreplaceable resource. Learn more. 

We have challenged state rules that leave the Boundary Waters vulnerable to damage from toxic sulfide-ore copper mining. Current pollution standards in Minnesota rules would allow significant damage to the clean water and healthy forests in and around the Boundary Waters. Your supporting comments will be important to this effort, which is expected to happen later this spring.

Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan of operation to the state and federal government. This means there will be both a state and federal  environmental review processes that will include opportunities for public input. Both reviews may commence as early as spring or summer 2021, and your participation will be critical. Watch here for updates.

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