STATE LAWSUIT

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the lead organization in the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, filed a lawsuit challenging state rules that leave the Boundary Waters vulnerable to damage from sulfide-ore copper mining. 

Today Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the lead organization in the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, filed a lawsuit challenging state rules that leave the Boundary Waters vulnerable to damage from sulfide-ore copper mining. Current state rules - which implement state laws - do not prohibit risky sulfide-ore copper mining on lands near the Wilderness and adjacent to rivers and lakes that flow directly into the Boundary Waters. Multiple peer-reviewed scientific reports, as well as the 2016 Record Of Decision by the US Forest Service, determined that sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed of the Wilderness is simply incompatible with the Boundary Waters and would do irreparable harm. 

The lawsuit, filed pursuant to the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act, asks a District Court Judge to require the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to initiate a public process to amend state non-ferrous mining rules that would fully protect the Boundary Waters. Specifically, the lawsuit calls on the DNR to prohibit sulfide-ore copper mining and related surface disturbance in the Rainy River-Headwaters. 

This lawsuit is urgently needed in this time when the federal government has shredded the regulatory fabric originally designed to protect America’s natural resources and clean air and water. In addition to arbitrarily reinstating dangerous mineral leases and canceling studies on the impact of sulfide ore mining on the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the Trump Administration is changing the rules to make it easier for mining companies to pollute and harder for states to regulate. Earlier this month the federal administration finalized changes gutting the Clean Water Act and the President signed an Executive Order waiving environmental laws to expedite risky projects like Antofagasta’s Twin Metals.

The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters has a strategic and multi-pronged approach to protecting America’s most popular Wilderness. Finding solutions on both the federal and state levels is a critical piece of that strategy. You can help permanently protect the Boundary Waters by supporting our work - make a gift today with the form below.

Learn more about our lawsuit by clicking the link below: