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How to write a public comment!

Friday, January 25, 2019
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

How to write a unique public comment that makes a difference!

Personalized, unique comments submitted during the formal public comment period carry even more weight than signing a form/petition. It takes 5-10 minutes to tell the Bureau of Land Management why the Boundary Waters is not worth risking for a sulfide-ore copper mine.

Ready to submit? Click here to start writing your comment.

Need help?

Topic ideas for your comment:
  • Tell the Bureau of Land Management not to renew Twin Metals' old mining leases next to the Boundary Waters.

  • Include your personal experience in the Boundary Waters region for business, recreation, hunting, fishing, etc.

  • The BLM's study of lease renewal does not adequately examine the immense risks from copper mining next to the Boundary Waters, such as economic and environmental impacts.

  • If you have expertise in an area like geology, botany, law etc., feel free to include your perspective and knowledge in those areas especially!

  • Ask the BLM to extend the public comment period (which began right over the Christmas holidays) by at least 60 days to allow for more public and expert input.


Outline for your comment:

I strongly oppose renewal of two federal mineral leases in the Superior National Forest. I urge you to deny renewal.

[Personal story about your Boundary Waters or why the Wilderness is important to you!]

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and the Superior National Forest are priceless to the American people and must not be exposed to damage and pollution from sulfide-ore copper mining that would be inevitable if copper mining were to occur on public lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters.

[Facts about the Boundary Waters.]

[The negative impacts sulfide-ore copper mining would have on the Boundary Waters and the surrounding communities. See below for facts and resources.]

We urge you to:

  • Not renew federal mineral leases
  • Provide an extension on the comment period of 62 days to Monday, March 25th.
  • Provide public meetings in Duluth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Washington, DC
  • Prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement to analyze and assess the full range of potential negative impacts to the environment, the economy and to the American people if federal mineral leases were renewed
  • Stop all mining approvals, including the renewal of federal mineral leases, until the Superior National Forest Mineral Withdrawal Environmental Assessment is completed
  • Base all decisions on the best available science

Thanks,
[Your name]

Feel ready to write your own? Start writing your public comment!



Facts and resources to use in your comment:

GENERAL BOUNDARY WATERS FACTS:

  • 1.1 million acres of unique canoe country

  • 1,100 lakes with over 2,000 designated campsites

  • 1,200 miles of canoe and kayak routes and 237.5 miles of overnight hiking trails

  • Several sensitive wildlife species make the Wilderness their home, including the gray wolf, moose, Canada lynx and loon.

  • Top fishing and hunting destination

SCIENCE FACTS:

  • 19  SCIENTIFIC STUDIES - The Trump Administration claims that after an “extensive review,” there was no new “scientific information.” However, public record shows that 19 new studies, reports, and scientific journal articles were submitted to the Forest Service on this issue. See them here: Earthworks' Boundary Waters repository of scientific and economic studies.

  • NOT ONE COPPER MINE HAS OPERATED SAFELY - In the history of sulfide-ore copper mining, no copper mine has ever operated and been closed for at least 10 years without polluting surrounding surface water or groundwater. The copper mining industry has a long and continuing history  of severe water pollution including acid drainage, heavy metals contamination, sulfates, and exceedingly high specific conductance, as well as increasingly frequent catastrophic accidents such as tailings dam failures. And even state-of-the-art mines are at risk for major infrastructure disaster. “Research shows that mines with high acid generating potential and in close proximity to surface and groundwater are at highest risk for water quality impacts.” US Copper Porphyry Mines Report, Bonnie Gestring; Earthworks.

  • 500+ YEARS OF POLLUTION - Conservative models of pollution show that waterways would carry contaminants into the Wilderness. A single mine in this watershed will continually pollute the wilderness for at least 500 years¹. Tom Meyers, Ph. D. said in one of his reports, “If the sulfide mines are developed in the Rainy Headwaters, it is not a question of whether, but when, a leak will occur that will have major impacts on the water quality of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”
    Learn more about the scientific research pertaining to sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness here.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS:

  • 4,500 JOBS > 650 JOBS - This year, a first-of-its-kind  independent economic analysis by Harvard economists was published.  It compared the effects of the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed 20-year mining ban near the Boundary Waters, with the consequences of sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters watershed. The authors modeled 36 employment scenarios and 72 different income scenarios comparing the proposed 20-year ban versus a Twin Metals mine. In all employment scenarios the 20-year ban produced more jobs over a 20-year period in the Boundary Waters region than the mining scenario. In the best-case scenario, Twin Metals Minnesota would only create 650 jobs versus the 4,500 jobs that will be created over 20 years if copper mining is banned and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is protected.
    Learn more about the Harvard Study.

  • $950 MILLION MORE FROM AN AMENITY-BASED ECONOMY THAN A COPPER MINE -A Harvard study showed that a healthy Boundary Waters creates a healthy business boom for the long-haul: a 20-year mining ban would produce far greater economic benefit and diversity than the proposed Twin Metals mine with up to $900 million more personal income to the local area over 20 years if copper mining is banned. Learn more about the Harvard Study.

THE PUBLIC DOESN’T WANT THIS MINE:

  • A vast majority of Minnesotans and Americans want the Boundary Waters protected from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. Seventy percent of Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters, and over 94% of the 125,000 public comments on the proposed mineral withdrawal urged protection.

  • An analysis by Key Log Economics found that of the more than 81,000 unique comment letters submitted to the Forest Service in 2017, 98.2%  supported a 20-year ban on sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. In addition, the Forest Service received petitions and postcards signed by 41,971 people that support the mineral withdrawal. Altogether, 121,539 people urged the Forest Service to protect the Boundary Waters. This scoping comment period generated the most participation in an environmental review process in Minnesota history.

CORRUPTION AND POLLUTION:

CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH

  • Sulfide-ore copper mining could have major impacts on human health. “The World Health Organization lists the ten environmental toxins with greatest concern to human health, and sulfide-ore copper mining releases at least six of these - mercury, lead, arsenic, particulate air pollution, asbestos, and cadmium.  Sulfide-ore copper mining also releases sulfates, which fuel the chemical reactions that transform mercury to its toxic form methylmercury.
    These toxins have known harmful effects to human health including cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and neurodevelopmental diseases (dyslexia and other learning disorders, intellectual disabilities, autism, and ADHD among them).  Babies from gestation through age three are especially vulnerable due to their rapidly growing brains, which have a high affinity for these heavy metals.”

  • Learn more from the doctors who visited D.C. to express the concerns of sulfide-ore copper mining impacts on human health.

MORE RESOURCES:

If you want to find more information about this issue to include in your comments, some good resources include our Science Desk or other blog categories and our Factsheets page.

You can read the BLM's "environmental assessment" document on the renewal of these leases (it's only about 30 pages long).



An open letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt | Kids for the Boundary Waters

Saturday, January 19, 2019
Posted by
Kids for the Boundary Waters

Dear Interior Deputy Secretary Bernhardt:

Last month you met with 40 of us, youth from eight states and two countries, who are members of Kids for The Boundary Waters. We flew to Washington, D.C. to meet with elected and appointed officials in defense of America’s most visited wilderness, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We are writing today to express our disappointment in the actions taken by the BLM on December 20th – under direction of the Department of Interior – to unlawfully renew mineral leases for foreign mining giant, Antofagasta, that were cancelled two years ago.

Antofagasta seeks to exploit our nation’s minerals in the Superior National Forest of Minnesota. Proposed mine sites are adjacent to the Boundary Waters, within the watershed and along lakes and rivers that flow into the 1.1 million acre Wilderness. The toxic acid runoff from these mines would poison the Wilderness lakes, rivers, wetlands, wildlife, and woods.  Sulfide-ore copper mining has never been done in Minnesota, “the Land of 10,000 Lakes,” and with good reason: everywhere it has been done – even in the most arid ecosystems - it has caused environmental damage, usually on a massive scale. The Environmental Protection Agency lists hardrock mining as America’s largest generator of toxic releases.

We all know the end result of these mines on the Boundary Waters: America’s most popular wilderness – her clean waters, wildlife, and woods – irreversibly poisoned, damaged, and destroyed.

Allowing this mining would be a betrayal of our generation. All of us – and hundreds of thousands of other kids – grew up paddling in the Boundary Waters with friends and family, and through camps and outdoor programs such as the five popular YMCA Boundary Waters camps, Camp Koochiching, the Northern Lakes Girl Scout Base, the Northern Tier Boy Scout High Adventure Canoe Base, and Voyageur Outward Bound School. We cut our teeth on the wonders of the natural world in this place, the greatest protected canoe country wilderness in the world.

While you may promote Every Kid Outdoors, it is a meaningless and cruel gesture unless the Interior Department fulfills its promise of wilderness protection for the Boundary Waters. And the only way to fulfill this promise is to say no to copper mining in this place.

Once again, we Kids for The Boundary Waters ask you to stop. Stop advancing dangerous mining that will benefit only a foreign mining company. Join us in advocating for permanent protection of public lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters from copper mining. Only this will ensure that the Boundary Waters remains one of the greatest landscapes for outdoor adventures in the nation.

Over the last two years, agency studies on how to best protect the Boundary Waters have been abruptly cancelled, previous scientific analysis has been ignored, economic impact data has been disregarded, long-expired federal mineral leases have been summarily reinstated, and longstanding environmental precedent and laws have been defied.

During our meeting you heard from just eight of the 40 Kids in our group. Our stories were honest and heartfelt, and included a first-hand account of the wholly destructive nature of this type of mining from a teen who took the time to fly all the way from Peru to share his story.

In response to our well-researched, scientific- and economically-based request, you had no response other than to offer us cookies. We don’t want cookies. We want you and the Department of the Interior to do your jobs to protect America’s Boundary Waters.

Kids for the Boundary Waters is committed to doing everything possible to defend the Boundary Waters. The fight for the Boundary Waters is most especially about us KIDS who will lose something priceless and inherit the mess if this mine is built. This is our future – our water, our public lands, our resources, our health, and our country are at stake. Not this mine. Not in this place. Not Ever.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joseph A. Goldstein
President & Founder, Kids4BW
Springfield, IL

Julia Ruelle
Board Member
Wayzata, MN

Henry Holcomb
Board Member
Minneapolis, MN

Sophia Manolis
Board Member
Minneapolis, MN

Abigael Carron, Boulder CO

Adam Benway, Lima Peru

Christina Treacy, Minneapolis MN

Eamon Davnie, Minneapolis MN

Ellie McConville, St. Paul, MN

Ellie Retzlaff, Eden Prairie MN

Elsie Falconer, Eden Prairie MN

Emma Brewer, St. Paul MN

Gainsley Korengold, Bronxville NY

Grace Pereira, Minneapolis, MN

Greta Lahm, Minneapolis MN

Holiday Holcomb, Minneapolis MN

Isabella Sutherland, Duluth MN

Isaiah Bischoff, Minneapolis, MN

Kaya Sloman, Springfield IL

Keelee Thering, Minneapolis MN

Keira Obert, St. Paul, MN

Elsa Soderstom
Board Member
Minneapolis, MN

Tommasso Maiocco
Board Member
St. Louis, MO

Callie Stolar
Board Member
Evanston, IL

Liam Schatzline, Savage MN

Lillian Lamb, Minneapolis MN

Lily Cartier, New Brighton MN

Lily Pearson, St. Paul, MN

Lola Jensen, Wilmette IL

Maddie Fahnline, Evergreen CO

Maggie Mills, Bloomington MN

Margo Cushman, Milwaukee WI

Marianna Hefte, Minneapolis MN

Molly Potts, Pittsburg PA

Nathan Wegner, Omaha NE

Nayana Gurung, Mendota Heights MN

Noah Miller, Land O’Lakes WI

Piper Jensen, Wilmette IL

Tam Ayers, Arlington VA

William Steiner, Minneapolis MN

Wini Bettenburg, St. Paul MN

www.KidsfortheBoundaryWaters.org

The Rush to Ruin the BWCA, Voyageurs National Park, Canada's Quetico Park

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

In 2016 the U.S. Forest Service concluded that sulfide-ore copper mining in the headwaters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness posed inherent risks of serious harm to the “unique, iconic, and irreplaceable wilderness area” and withheld its consent to renewal of the only two federal mineral leases in the Superior; the leases were then cancelled.

NOW: The Trump Administration is fast-tracking the grant of public lands and minerals in the headwaters of the Boundary Waters to foreign mining company Antofagasta.

  • Peer-reviewed science shows that (i) sulfide-ore copper mining would seriously pollute the Boundary Waters and downstream lands and waters and (ii) this damage could not be mitigated or fixed.

  • Independent economic studies show that the Boundary Waters region would enjoy more jobs and income if copper mining were banned.

  • Ideological and corporate interest considerations have been given precedence over massive evidence of the harm that sulfide-ore copper mining would cause to valuable and uniquely vulnerable public lands and waters.

At risk are the nation’s most-visited Wilderness (and only significant lakeland Wilderness) and downstream protected public lands and waters.

  • The clean water of the Superior National Forest, which includes the Boundary Waters, constitutes 20% of the freshwater in the entire 193-million-acre national forest system.

SIGN THE PETITION

SUBMIT A COMMENT

RECENT ACTION: On December 20, 2018 – on the eve of a government shutdown - the Bureau of Land Management released an Environmental Assessment of the two cancelled federal mineral leases and said it was renewing those leases for the benefit of Antofagasta’s Twin Metals.

  • The EA identifies no environmental or economic impacts and does no analysis of harm.

  • The EA does not consider denial of the mineral leases.

  • The public has only 30 days to comment (which includes the year-end holidays).

The Trump Administration is short-circuiting established laws and procedures, making legally indefensible interpretations, and sidestepping treaties designed to protect the Boundary Waters and the rest of the Superior National Forest, Voyageurs, and Quetico – all while sharply limiting environmental review and public involvement, and disregarding and suppressing science that shows harm to the environment, the economy, and human health.

  • Cancelling at the 11th hour a Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) study of a proposed 20-year ban on mining in the watershed of the Boundary Waters.

  • Reinstating two expired federal mineral leases – effectively treating expired 20-year leases as 63-year leases.

  • Considering granting mineral leases without Forest Service consent or required environmental review.

  • Ignoring state and federal water quality laws and regulations protective of the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs.

  • Ignoring Wilderness laws protecting the Boundary Waters and the rest of the Superior National Forest.

  • Ignoring the U.S. – Canada Boundary Waters Treaty protective of Quetico.

  • Ignoring the 1854 Treaty with Ojibway tribes.  

The Trump Administration is dismissing science and suppressing its own scientific and economic reports that show harm to the environment, the economy, and human health.

  • Refusing to provide its own reports and studies completed during the FLPMA study of a proposed 20-year mining ban to Congress and the public.

  • Ignoring science, economics, and the testimony of experts, including at least 55 directly relevant reports, submitted to federal agencies over the past five years.

  • Ignoring the studies cited in the detailed U.S. Forest Service denial of consent

The Trump Administration is dismissing and disregarding the views of the American people.

  • Two federal public comment processes (2016 – 2018) involved high levels of public participation and overwhelming support for banning copper mining.

    • Over 250,000 comments; approximately 98% in support of protection

    • Five public hearings; speakers nearly 2-1 in favor of protection

    • More than 55 scientific and economic reports and studies showing damage to the environment, the economy, and public heath

TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT THE BOUNDARY WATERS AND DOWNSTREAM LANDS & WATERS

  • DEMAND THAT DECISIONS BE BASED ON FACTS AND SCIENCE

  • DEMAND THAT THE NATION’S LAWS BE RESPECTED AND FOLLOWED AND THAT THE PUBLIC BE FULLY ENGAGED

  • DEMAND STEWARDSHIP OF OUR NATION’S MOST VISITED NATIONAL WILDERNESS AREA: DO NOT SACRIFICE THE BOUNDARY WATERS FOR SHORT TERM PROFITS OF A FOREIGN MINING COMPANY

SIGN THE PETITION

Take 2 minutes to join the thousands of Americans standing up to protect the Boundary Waters.

SUBMIT A COMMENT

Personalized, unique comments submitted during the formal public comment period carry even more weight than signing a form/petition.

What just happened to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Posted by
Megan Wind


On December 20, the Trump Administration’s U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced it will renew Chilean mining giant Antofagasta’s Twin Metals mining leases. These leases were terminated in 2016. It is contrary to our nation’s laws to renew lawfully terminated mineral leases. This action is intended to avoid America’s bedrock environmental laws to
allow dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining on public lands next to the Boundary Waters  Canoe Area Wilderness for the benefit of a foreign mining company.

Since assuming power in 2017, the Trump Administration has been ignoring science, facts, and the will of the people by systematically stripping protections for the Boundary Waters in favor of Chilean mining giant, Antofagasta.

These federal mineral leases were terminated in 2016 when, after years of study and overwhelming public comment, the U.S. Forest Service concluded that copper mining under these leases posed an unacceptable risk of irreparable damage to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and to surrounding Superior National Forest lands and waters. The renewal is based on a legal opinion by former Koch strategist Daniel Jorjani, who has been acting as the top lawyer for the Department of Interior the past two years, despite never undergoing the required confirmation by the US Senate.

The Bureau of Land Management has prepared an inadequate and incomplete “study” of the leases. A 21-day public comment period has been opened, occurring inconveniently during the Holiday weeks and wraps up January 22, 2018.

Submit your comment to the BLM now.


How we got here.

In December 2016, the Obama Administration and its federal agencies announced that applications to renew Antofagasta’s Twin Metals mineral leases were denied and a proposed 20-year ban on copper mining in the Boundary Waters watershed would be considered. The Bureau of Land Management stated in its release, "Citing broad concerns from thousands of public comments and input about potential impacts of mining on the wilderness area’s watershed, fish and wildlife, and the nearly $45 million recreation economy, the agencies today took actions that denied an application for renewal of two hard rock mineral leases in the area, as well as initiated steps to withdraw key portions of the watershed from new mineral permits and leases.”

In January 2017, the Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) launched an environmental review of the proposed 20-year ban on copper mining on national forest lands in the watershed of the Boundary Waters. This study was designed to analyze the environmental, economic, and social impacts of a ban and to consider the risk sulfide-ore copper mining posed to the region. The study called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), is the process provided under federal law to guide a decision by the Secretary of the Interior on whether public lands should be off-limits to mining for twenty years. One year later, the Forest Service downgraded the withdrawal study from an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA was required to be completed by January 2019, when the Interior Secretary would make his decision.

On September 6, 2018, the U.S. Forest Service abruptly the EA. It claimed that although the nearly 21-month study disclosed no new science, it had reviewed numerous reports to reach the conclusion that the Superior National Forest lands under study should be opened to copper mining immediately. Since the abrupt cancellation, the Forest Service has refused to share these reports with the public and has even rebuffed requests from Congress. Even more, telling is that more than 55 strong science and economic reports directly applicable to the negative impacts of copper mining on the Boundary Waters ecosystem and economy were submitted to the Forest Service. The Forest Service’s claim of no new science is misleading at best. Just as the reports are being suppressed, all public access to the reading room for the EA has been shut down. These actions demonstrate an attempt to ignore the nation’s law that governs mining and to suppress the science and economics that would have supported one outcome: that only a 20-year ban on copper mining would protect the Boundary Waters and downstream lands and waters in the Superior National Forest, the Quetico Park, and Voyageurs National Park. The study became inconvenient for an administration determined to favor foreign mining companies over the welfare of local communities.

The Trump administration is also ignoring another law that protects the Boundary Waters from dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining. In Minnesota, the Forest Service has the right to say no to mining in the Superior National Forest. That right, based on statute, protects the unique canoe country ecosystem, which is unlike any other place in America, with its abundant clean water. The Trump administration reversed the Forest Service’s 2016 denial of consent to these mining leases and has informed the Forest Service that it cannot exercise the right to withhold consent.

Now, the BLM is renewing these terminated leases after only a narrow and clearly inadequate review of negative environmental, economic, and social impacts of dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining. It is providing only extremely limited opportunity for the public to engage and to raise concerns of the negative impacts of copper mining on the Wilderness and nearby lands, waters, and communities. The science developed during the two-year EA, canceled on September 6, 2018, is being withheld from the people, further inhibiting their ability to assess harm.

Take action before January 22, 2019.

Here is the timeline of events:


5 Actions You Can Take Right Now

Right now is the most critical time for you to take action and to speak loudly for this quiet place. Here are a few other ways you can get involved:

  1. Submit a comment.

  1. Contact your representatives.

  1. Contact the Governor-elect Tim Walz.

  1. Get the word out - share on your networks.

  1. Donate

Antofagasta: The chilean mining giant rushing to ruin the Boundary Waters

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Who is Antofagasta?

Twin Metals Minnesota, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Antofagasta PLC of Chile, is demanding renewal of sulfide-ore copper mining leases covering 5,000 acres of National Forest lands on the edge of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Antofagasta is the ninth-largest copper mining company in the world and is based in Chile, where it owns several copper mines.  That it has an atrocious environmental and social track record there should concern anyone who cares about the Boundary Waters and the communities around it.

Antofagasta should never be entrusted with the health and safety of the Boundary Waters and its watershed. In Chile, Antofagasta PLC:

  • caused the biggest loss of cultural heritage in Chile’s recent history, according to the Chilean Archaeological Society, when it excavated more than 500 boulders bearing 2,000 petroglyphs and buried a pre-Columbian cemetery and archeological sites from two vanished cultures, to make way for the El Mauro tailings dam. (London Mining Network, 6/14/13);

  • was found guilty by the Chilean Supreme Court of harming residents of a community when Antofagasta located its tailings dam upstream, polluting the groundwater and blocking a critical source of water on which the community depended (BNamericas, 10/24/14);

  • faces a potential fine of $23.8 million and closure of its biggest copper mine in Chile over violations of its environmental permit, including water pollution (Reuters, 10/13/16; Mining.com 10/14/16); and

  • was responsible for the highest number of toxic spills in the region of Coquimbo; one spill dumped 13,000 liters of copper concentrate directly into a river (Conflicts Over Water in Chile: Between Human Rights and Market Rules, Sept. 2010).

In addition:

  • A Chilean senator brought charges against Antofagasta for tax fraud (United Press International 5/23/03).

  • Antofagasta is heavily involved in extreme water privatization occurring in desert areas of Chile, depriving many poor and indigenous families of their historic water sources.  (Conflicts Over Water in Chile: Between Human Rights and Market Rules, September 2010) (The Guardian, 3/21/2014).

  • Antofagasta’s corporate structure is dangerously consolidated within the Luksic family – one of Chile's wealthiest families (The Telegraph, 11/06/04).

  • The Luksics have a history of involvement in political-financial scandals. The Bank of Chile, which is controlled by the Luksic family, gave the Chilean president’s daughter-in-law a special $10 million loan after she met with bank vice-president Andrónico Luksic (Reuters, 2/10/15), the chairman of the Luksic Group, the family's business holding company.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a Washington, D.C., home from Chilean billionaire Andrónico Luksic.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chilean billionaire bought a Washington, D.C., mansion for $5.5 million, just after the November election on December 22, 2016, and that twelve days after the purchase, Luksic’s company rented the mansion to Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner. Ivanka and Kushner are paying $15,000 a month to rent their home.

While Andrónico Luksic has tweeted that Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner are paying market rate rent - the real cause for concern is that Luksic of Antofagasta reportedly spent $5.5 million to make a mansion available to members of the First Family and top advisors to President Donald Trump at a time when Antofagasta is suing the United States to try to force renewal of mineral leases near the Boundary Waters.

The copper mining industry has a long history of acid mine drainage and heavy metals leaching with catastrophic environmental impacts, especially to water. And even state-of-the-art mines are at risk for major infrastructure disaster. For example, in August 2014, a tailings dam breach at the Mount Polley copper and gold mine in British Columbia released 4.5 million cubic meters of toxic slurry into a lake and river system that was a priceless salmon spawning area. Two days later, a mine in Mexico spilled 40,000 cubic meters of copper sulfate acid into two rivers, wiping out the water supply for a vast rural area that depended on the river water for domestic use and agriculture. Fish and wildlife were devastated.

With their destructive environmental track record, Antofagasta cannot be entrusted with the health and safety of the Boundary Waters and its watershed.

Prcoessing facility of Chilean mine. 

Trump administration's unlawful maneuvering puts Boundary Waters Wilderness at risk

Friday, December 14, 2018
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Two important news reports were recently published that make plain the Trump administration's unlawful maneuvers to ram through federal mineral leases for the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta’s Twin Metals on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The person at the center of these maneuvers is Koch Brothers strategist Daniel Jorjani, who has been impermissibly acting as the top lawyer for the Department of Interior the past two years, despite never undergoing the required confirmation by the US Senate.

Links to news reports:

  • “Old memos shed new light on Twin Metals leases,” -  The Ely Timberjay 
  • “Past haunts present fight over controversial Minn. Project,” -  E & E 

The news reports are based on Department of Interior documents obtained as part of a lawsuit challenging the legality of a May 2018 temporary reinstatement of expired mineral leases. These leases were not renewed in 2016 when, after years of study and overwhelming public comment, the U.S. Forest Service concluded that copper mining under these leases posed an unacceptable risk of irreparable damage to the Boundary Waters and surrounding Superior National Forest lands and waters.

Since assuming power in 2017 the Trump Administration has been ignoring science, facts, and the will of the people by systematically unwinding protections for the Boundary Waters at the behest of Antofagasta.

The Trump Administration is now on the verge of fully renewing the expired leases and granting Twin Metals the right to mine. This follows on the heels of the Trump Administration’s 11th hour cancellation of a two-year study intended to determine the benefits of a 20-year mining ban on lands near the Boundary Waters. The ban was requested by the U.S. Forest Service as necessary to protect the Wilderness from the risks posed by sulfide-ore mining. Over 94% of the 125,000 public comments on the study urged protection.

 FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

1.         The Trump Administration is rigging the legal process to ram through mineral leases for a Chilean mining boss who is also Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s landlordSince assuming power in 2017 the Trump Administration has been ignoring science, facts, and the will of the people by systematically unwinding protections for the Boundary Waters at the behest of Antofagasta. 

2.         Antofagasta has a history of environmental disaster and political corruption in its homeland. Antofagasta was found guilty by the Chilean Supreme Court of harming residents when the mining company located its tailings dam upstream, polluting the groundwater and blocking a critical source of water on which the community depended. They were responsible for the highest number of toxic spills in the region of Coquimbo, including one spill which dumped 13,000 liters of copper concentrate directly into a river. They faced a fine of $23.8 million and closure of its biggest copper mine in Chile over violations of its environmental permit, including water pollution.

Antofagasta has been implicated in a number of bribery and corruption scandals, including with a high-ranking Chilean cabinet minister, a questionable $10 million dollar loan to the daughter-in-law of the Chilean president, and tax fraud.

3.         The Trump Administration is suppressing important scientific information about the danger sulfide-ore copper mining poses to the Boundary Waters. The US Department of Agriculture abruptly cancelled a two year study on the impacts of copper mining on lands and communities near the Boundary Waters. The study would have shown the harm sulfide-ore copper mining would have done. The Trump administration has refused to make public the underlying ecological, public health, and economic reports prepared during the study. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, metal mining is the nation’s #1 toxic polluter, and a wide body of rigorous scientific literature shows the near inevitability of pollution flowing into and severely damaging the Boundary Waters.

4.         Protecting the Boundary Waters is the smart economic choice.  The BWCA is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 155,000 visitors from all over the world and helps drive more than $900 million in economic activity every year and over 17,000 jobs. A recent independent study from Harvard University showed that protecting the Boundary Waters from the Twin Metals mine would resulted in dramatically more jobs and income over a year 20 year period.

5.         A vast majority of Minnesotans and Americans want the Boundary Waters protected from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. Seventy percent of Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters, and over 94% of the 125,000 public comments on the proposed mineral withdrawal urged protection. 

Timeline of Key Dates

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Potential Sulfide-Ore Copper Mining on Superior National Forest Lands in the Boundary Waters Watershed: Timeline of Key Benchmarks

1873Public domain lands in Minnesota withdrawn from General Mining Law of 1872
1909Superior National Forest established
1909 Boundary Waters Treaty signed by Canada and the United States, requiring that neither country pollute boundary waters or waters that flow across the boundary
1946Congress authorizes mineral leasing on acquired national forest lands in Minnesota where leasing will not interfere with primary purposes for which the land was acquired
1950Contemplating granite, gravel, and iron ore mining that would not interfere with recreational uses, Congress authorizes mineral leasing on public domain national forest lands in Minnesota upon Forest Service consent  
1964 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) designated by the Wilderness Act
1966BLM issues to predecessor of Twin Metals Minnesota two federal preference right mineral leases (MNES 1352 and MNES 1353) covering nearly 5,000 acres of the Superior National Forest adjacent to the BWCAW for a primary term of 20 years
1978

Boundary Waters Wilderness Act bans mining within the Wilderness, establishes a 220,000-acre Mining Protection Zone along entry corridors, and further protects the BWCAW

1989 Mineral leases (MNES 1352 and MNES 1353) renewed for 10 years
2004 Mineral leases (MNES 1352 and MNES 1353) renewed for 10 years
Oct. 2012Twin Metals applies for a third 10-year renewal of mineral leases (1352 and 1353)
May 2012

BLM issues 28 prospecting permits covering over 38,000 acres of the Superior National Forest in the BWCAW watershed

Mar. 8, 2016Solicitor of the Department of the Interior Hilary Tompkins issues a legal opinion finding that BLM has discretion to grant or deny Twin Metals’ lease renewal application
Dec. 14, 2016

Following a 30-day public comment period and two public meetings, Forest Service issues decision withholding its consent to renew mineral leases (1352 and 1353)

Dec. 15, 2016BLM denies renewal of mineral leases (1352 and 1353), and the leases expire
Jan. 19, 2017Forest Service files an application to withdraw from mineral leasing approximately 234,000 acres of Superior National Forest lands in the BWCAW watershed, initiating a 2-year segregation, and issues a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement
Mar.-July 2017Forest Service holds three public meetings on the proposed withdrawal, with approximately 2,700 people attending and 101 out of 157 speakers supporting withdrawal
Aug. 17, 2017Forest Service receives more than 125,000 public comments on the proposed withdrawal, with approximately 98% of the over 81,000 unique comments and 94% of the over 44,000 form comments favoring withdrawal
Dec. 22, 2017Acting Principal Deputy Solicitor of the Department of the Interior Daniel Jorjani issues a legal opinion withdrawing and replacing the Tompkins opinion and finding that BLM lacked discretion to deny Twin Metals’ lease renewal application
Jan. 26, 2018

Forest Service downgrades withdrawal study from an environmental impact statement to an environmental assessment and initiates a second public comment period

Feb. 28, 2018

Forest Service receives an additional nearly 56,000 comments in favor of withdrawal; altogether approximately 98% of the over 180,000 comments received favored withdrawal

May 2, 2018BLM rescinds its December 2016 denial of the renewal of 1352 and 1353 and reinstates the expired leases and Twin Metals’ renewal application
June 2018 Three lawsuits filed in federal district court in DC challenging the reinstatement decision
Sept. 6, 2018Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announces in a press release that the Forest Service is cancelling its application for withdrawal, and the public process and development of an environmental assessment are terminated; the announcement followed statements by President Trump and Vice President Pence at rallies in Duluth, MN in June and August that they would “rescind the withdrawal” and are “rolling back the ban” 

On November 12-15, 40 young students from across the United States and South America gathered in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the Boundary Waters. This was the second Kids for the Boundary Waters D.C. Fly-In. The trip was a tremendous success, and powerful statements from kids were delivered in 35 meetings with members of Congress and their top staffers. Their passion was unmistakable; it was made clear that the preservation of the BWCA matters to today’s youth and future generations.

All involved on the trip returned more charged and motivated to continue guarding this special place. The Kids for the Boundary Waters has already begun planning for their next D.C. Fly-In.

If you would like to donate or learn more about the Kids for the Boundary Waters, please check out their website.


The group heads toward the U.S. Capitol building, ready to advocate for the BWCA.

Jumps are high, and enthusiasm is higher.

The kids filed into the Department of the Interior building, where they met with officials making big decisions on our lands.

In preparation for their statements, the students reviewed maps of the BWCA.

Many smiles on the night before their first big day!

BIG smiles!

The kids shared their experiences with one another, along with dreams of future BWCA canoe trips.

Kids for the Boundary Waters Board Member Henry Holocomb converses with Becky Rom about the BWCA.

The group included more than just kids! Several adult BWCA supporters joined to help the group navigate Washington, D.C.

Discussion circles formed in the halls, where the kids got to talk strategy and get to know one another better.

The trip included many first-time visitors to Washington, D.C.

They walked the halls with confidence and a message to share.

This was a family bonding experience for Alex Falconer, Erica Falconer, and their daughter, Elsie.

35 meetings in total with elected Congresspeople and their staffers!

Kids for the Boundary Waters President Joseph Goldstein with Senator Dick Durbin.

The group admired the architecture and artwork of the Capitol.

The group with Betty McCollum, U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 4th Congressional District.

Kids for the Boundary Waters Advisory Board Members pose for a photo in front of the Washington Monument.

Scootering by the Capitol in style.

At the end of their trip, the kids were proud of their work, and the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters is proud and grateful for them too! Their statements and passion made an impact, and we're all looking forward to what the Kids for the Boundary Waters will continue to accomplish in 2019.

Boundary Waters Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Posted by
Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Support the businesses and organizations who support protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Here are a few businesses doing special promotions this season to give back and help us fight against the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining along the edge of the Wilderness!

SEEK DRY GOODS

 11/25-12/1

Outdoor-inspired clothing/accessory brand Seek Dry Goods is supporting the Campaign 11/25-12/1! Through their Season of Giving campaign we will receive a special donation from every purchase made through 12/1.  To participate, place an order on seekdrygoods.com (includes Free Shipping on US orders) and a portion will automatically be donated to the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

SHOP NOW: Seek Dry Goods - 11/25 - 12/1

REDBUDSUDS

 

Gunflint Peppermint 

Now you can help protect our Wilderness with every shower! Our friends at Redbudsuds is giving our cause 50% of each Gunflint Peppermint shower bar sold.  This 4-in-1 Shower Bar is Boundary Waters safe and has everything you need to get clean in one bar: shampoo, conditioner, body soap and shaving cream. Get yours for everyone on your holiday shopping list before they sell out!

SHOP NOW: Redbudsuds - Gunflint Peppermint

HUMBLE APPAREL

 12/1-12/25

Humble Apparel Co. has partnered up with the Campaign to help protect the Boundary Waters! For any BWCA hat purchased, Humble will donate 25% of the proceeds to the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. Check out some of their awesome BWCA-inspired products!


GREAT LAKES 

In collaboration with Great Lakes and local artist Mark Herman, they’ve launched this hoodie as the first product under their Freshwater Initiative - an ongoing and collaborative campaign to protect our waters. For each hoodie sold they'll be donating $20 directly to the Campaign.

SHOP NOW: Great Lakes - BWCA Hoodie

STORM CREEK 

As part of Storm Creek’s Embrace the Cause initiative, Storm Creek has teamed up with the Campaign to launch one of these Performance Pullovers! $20 goes directly to help save the Boundary Waters. Use coupon code BWCA10 online to save 10% when you spend $50 or more. And don't forget to check out this awesome warehouse sale!

SHOP NOW: Performance Pullover 

AMAZON SMILE

Through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to a charity of your choice. Almost one million 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations participate in AmazonSmile, so whichever one you have on your mind is likely in its roster.

SHOP NOW: AmazonSmile


Check out the other promotions on our shop to support page!

As you shop this holiday season, keep in mind the many brands and organizations helping protect the Boundary Waters and other public lands efforts. We have over 300 businesses that have joined our Boundary Waters Business Coalition - click here to see the list!


Update from Explorers Dave and Amy Freeman

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Posted by
Amy and Dave Freeman

Dear Fellow Explorer,

Greetings from our sailboat, Discovery! Since we left Minnesota’s north shore in August, after our Year in the Wilderness book tour, we have sailed the Great Lakes, traveled through the Erie Canal and the Hudson River out to the East Coast, and are making our way south for the winter. While we travel, we are working on writing another book and we are keeping close tabs on the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.
 

Dave and Amy Freeman aboard their sailboat, the Discovery. 

You may know that on September 6, the Trump administration announced an abrupt end to the study on the risks of copper mining in the area, and opened a quarter million acres of federal public land to further mineral leasing and development. This decision is a betrayal of public trust and the many thousands of people who weighed in to say the Boundary Waters watershed must be protected. Scientific and economic data also support the need to ban copper mining in order to protect the Wilderness and the sustainable economies of wilderness-edge communities we call home.

 

Dave and Amy Freeman paddling in front of their sailboat, the Discovery.


Today is Give to the Max Day 

and we are asking you to help the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters fight back against sulfide-ore copper mining. 
When you donate any dollar amount today, every gift is matched 100% up to $65,000. 

  

There is so much to be done in the fight for the Boundary Waters, and your generosity will play a crucial role in protecting this special place for generations to come. In addition to an active lawsuit against the unlawful reinstatement of the Twin Metals leases, the Campaign is preparing to challenge the dozens of potential leases that could move forward as a result of the recent decision by the Trump Administration.

Please make a gift today to ensure the protection of the Boundary Waters against these threats.

Thanks for continuing to speak loudly for this wild and beautiful place!

Signing off for now,
Dave and Amy Freeman

P.S. Give to the Max Day is a great time to give not only will your gift be matched 100% up to $65,000, but every donation will improve the Campaign’s chances to win additional $500, $1,000, and even $10,000 gifts! Please give today.


On September 23, 2016, Dave and Amy Freeman returned after 366 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in support of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters’ efforts to protect the Boundary Waters from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness edge. During their Year in the Wilderness, Dave and Amy camped at approximately 120 different sites, explored 500 lakes, rivers and streams, and traveled more than 2,000 miles by canoe, foot, ski, snowshoe and dog team. In 2014 Dave and Amy traveled by canoe and sailboat from Ely to Washington D.C. during Paddle to DC as a first step in their efforts to protect the Wilderness. Most recently, that same journey was made via bicycle, ending in Washington D.C. in June of 2018. 

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