Becky Rom testified on behalf of protecting the Boundary Waters in a hearing today on Rep. Stauber’s fast-tracked legislation to reverse historic Boundary Waters protections.

May 11, 2023
Libby London

A hearing for Rep. Stauber’s two bills attacking the Boundary Waters’ 20-year ban on mining in its headwaters was held today. Becky Rom, National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, was the only witness who testified on behalf of protecting the Boundary Waters. 

(Ely, MN)-- Today the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on Rep. Pete Stauber’s House Concurrent Resolution of disapproval along with his recently introduced bill, both aimed at reversing the Biden administration’s historic decision to protect the headwaters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for 20 years from sulfide-ore copper mining. This type of mining has never been done in Minnesota and was determined by the Environmental Protection Agency to be America's most toxic industry. 

"Permanently protecting the Boundary Waters remains as popular as ever," said Becky Rom, National Chair of Save the Boundary Waters, "and opposition to risky sulfide-ore copper mining near this pristine Wilderness continues to be overwhelming. The Boundary Waters is a priceless asset of the people of Minnesota and the nation; its clean water, healthy forests and wetlands, great array of wildlife, and world-class sport fishery are infinitely more valuable than the relatively small amount of minerals that could be extracted in the Withdrawal Area." 

Rep. Stauber’s bill, The Superior National Forest Restoration Act, would force the government to reissue canceled federal mining leases, review mining prospecting permits, additional leases, and mine plans on an expedited timeline. It would also prohibit judicial review of those actions.

70% of Minnesotans support a ban on sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters headwaters. The Boundary Waters is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 165,000 visitors from all over the world. It is a major driver of the regional economy, supporting hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. A vast collection of peer-reviewed science shows that if a Twin Metals copper-nickel mine were built along the rivers and streams flowing into the Wilderness, pollution and environmental degradation would be certain. A peer-reviewed independent study from Harvard University showed that protection of the Boundary Waters from a proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore copper mine would result in dramatically more jobs and more income over a 20-year period.