New polling ahead of Congressional hearing finds continued overwhelming support for Boundary Waters protection
By a 2 to 1 margin Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters; nearly 70% support permanent protection for the Wilderness area
(Ely, MN)--Ahead of a Congressional hearing Tuesday on Rep. Betty McCollum's Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act new polling finds continued overwhelming support for permanently protecting the Wilderness. The poll found that by a 2 to 1 margin (60-31) Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters. Of those who support copper mining near the Boundary Waters, 2 in 3 only support mining if it can be done without risk to the Boundary Waters. Minnesotans also support an update of Minnesota’s rules on sulfide-ore copper mining to protect the Boundary Waters by a 19 point margin. After hearing arguments on both sides of the issue nearly 70% of Minnesotans support permanently protecting the Wilderness from sulfide-ore copper mining.
"The Boundary Waters remains as popular as ever," said Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters National Chair Becky Rom, "and opposition to risky sulfide-ore copper mining near this pristine Wilderness continues to be overwhelming. Now is the time to permanently protect this Wilderness from the inevitable risk of pollution from dangerous mining. We thank Rep. McCollum for her legislation and urge Congress to pass this critically important bill."
Notably Minnesotans rejected the critical mineral argument raised by copper mining boosters, viewing it as a false choice between mining in the watershed of the Boundary Waters for critical minerals needed for national security or clean energy purposes and protecting the Boundary Waters. In testing responses to statements about mining for critical minerals in the watershed of the Boundary Waters for national security or a green economy, voters agree by double-digit margins that we don’t have to choose between critical minerals and protecting the Boundary Waters. By working with our allies such as Canada, Norway, and Australia and increasing recycling in our own country, we can have both critical minerals the nation needs and preserve the legacy of the Boundary Waters.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 24) at 1 pm CST the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Rep. Betty McCollum's (D-MN) Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act. The bill would permanently protect America’s most visited Wilderness and Minnesota’s only national park by preventing risky sulfide-ore copper mining in the headwaters of both. The bill permanently withdraws 234,328 acres of National Forest lands in the headwaters of the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park from the federal mining program. To date, H.R. 2794, authored by Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN-4), has 52 cosponsors.
Testifying in favor of Boundary Waters protection will be Tom Tidwell, former U.S. Forest Service Chief and forty year veteran of the Forest Service; Ely resident Steve Piragis, owner of Piragis Northwoods Company, and Julia Ruelle, a board member of Kids for the Boundary Waters.
The Boundary Waters is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 160,000 visitors from all over the world and helps drive more than $900 million in annual economic activity and helps support over 17,000 jobs. A peer-reviewed independent study from Harvard University showed that protecting 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.