Despite a shortened public comment period, technical glitches, and a month-long government shutdown, nearly 100,000 comments opposing Twin Metals lease renewals were submitted to the Department of Interior. While the renewal process unlawfully engineered by the Department of the Interior all but guarantees Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta’s Twin Metals Project will continue to be fast-tracked through the environmental review process, the public outcry remains loud. The leases for dangerous mining near America’s most popular Wilderness were previously terminated before being resurrected by the Trump Administration.
In total 94,387 citizens submitted comments opposing the lease renewals.
“The American people are outraged by this project and this process,” said Jon Nelson of Duluth, co-chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “The Boundary Waters are a priceless natural wonder and economic engine for Northeastern Minnesota, and the public will not stand by silently while the current administration rushes forward to put irreplaceable Wilderness at risk.”
Over the last two years the Department of the Interior has worked hand-in-hand with Antofagasta and the mining industry to push through approvals for sulfide-ore mineral leases on the doorstep of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness.
The nearly 100,000 comments were the result of a public awareness push by a coalition of organizations including the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, National Wildlife Federation, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, The Wilderness Society, and others.
During previous public comment periods related to this project large numbers of Americans also spoke out in favor of protecting the Wilderness.