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.
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.
Here is the timeline of events:
December 15, 2016: U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages federal minerals on the Superior National Forest, notified Twin Metals that the company’s application for renewal of the mineral leases was denied.
December 15, 2016: U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior (parent agencies to the Forest Service and BLM) announced they would bar any new mineral leases or mineral exploration on 234,328 acres of national forest lands around the Boundary Waters for two years, in order to study a proposed 20-year mining ban as necessary to protect the Boundary Waters watershed from damage from sulfide-ore copper mining.
January 13, 2017: Forest Service announced the beginning of a comment period to determine the scope (i.e., what issues should be reviewed) of the environmental review.
May 25, 2017: Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue confirmed that the environmental impact study on banning sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters watershed will proceed to completion and decisions would be based on facts and science.
Aug. 17, 2017: Forest Service received 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 petition comments favoring withdrawal.
Dec. 22, 2017: Acting Principal Deputy Solicitor of the Department of the Interior Daniel Jorjani issued a legal opinion 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. Nearly 56,000 comments were received, nearly all of which supported a 20-year ban.
May 2, 2018: The Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management reinstated two expired mineral leases and Twin Metals’ renewal application.
June 2018: Three lawsuits filed in federal district court in DC challenging the reinstatement decision.
Sept. 6, 2018: Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in a press release that the Forest Service had cancelled the EA and would not complete the study of a 20-year mining ban. Instead, it announced that the Superior National Forest was open to sulfide-ore copper mining.
Many of the critically important science and economic studies submitted to the Forest Service are now posted at earthworks.org/BoundaryWaters.
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:
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).
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.
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.
Prcoessing facility of Chilean mine.
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:
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 landlord. 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.
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.
|1873||Public domain lands in Minnesota withdrawn from General Mining Law of 1872|
|1909||Superior 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|
|1946||Congress authorizes mineral leasing on acquired national forest lands in Minnesota where leasing will not interfere with primary purposes for which the land was acquired|
|1950||Contemplating 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|
|1966||BLM 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|
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. 2012||Twin Metals applies for a third 10-year renewal of mineral leases (1352 and 1353)|
BLM issues 28 prospecting permits covering over 38,000 acres of the Superior National Forest in the BWCAW watershed
|Mar. 8, 2016||Solicitor 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, 2016||BLM denies renewal of mineral leases (1352 and 1353), and the leases expire|
|Jan. 19, 2017||Forest 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 2017||Forest 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, 2017||Forest 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, 2017||Acting 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, 2018||BLM 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, 2018||Secretary 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!
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.
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
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
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 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!
SHOW NOW: BWCA Gear from Humble Apparel
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Today, on Give to the Max Day, I write to you from Washington, D.C. where I’m leading a contingency of 40 high school and college-aged kids, who are Wilderness Warriors from across America—including Peru—advocating to our nation's elected and appointed officials on behalf of our favorite Wilderness: The Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
It is your support that makes trips to D.C. like ours possible. Give NOW during the Power Hour to help the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters win additional Give to the Max Day funding that will take this fight even further.
Kids for the Boundary Waters meeting with Representative Betty McCollum in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2018.
Most of you know my story by now: at 13 years old I was diagnosed with leukemia and made a wish that became my mission—to protect the Boundary Waters against the threat posed by a giant, foreign mining company called Antofagasta.
Antofagasta has proposed sulfide-ore copper mining within the watershed of America’s most visited and pristine water wilderness. This type of mining is very different from Minnesota’s traditional taconite mining; sulfide ore copper mining has never been done in Minnesota, and has never been done anywhere without significant environmental damage. This foreign mining conglomerate wants to invade and endanger our wilderness in order to exploit and extract America’s resources. The result? Waters, wildlife and woods that will be forever altered and poisoned.
Kids for the Boundary Waters in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2018.
In February I took my last dose of 3.5 years of daily chemotherapy, closed the door on cancer and decided it was time to up my game on behalf of the Boundary Waters. And so on June 19th, in front of the Washington Monument and with a small group of equally committed teenagers by my side, together we launched a new initiative: Kids For The Boundary Waters (Kids4BW). We are back in D.C. this week, working as hard as we can to save this special part of America for all of us.
Please join my team of Wilderness Warriors in protecting this special place for every generation. Right now is the Give to the Max Day Power Hour, a monumental hour that gives the organization who raises the most money during this hour of giving thousands of extra dollars to put towards their cause.
Not only will your donation help boost the Campaign’s chances of gaining thousands of dollars in additional funds, if you GIVE RIGHT NOW, you'll also be entered to win cool outdoor prizes.
Even better news? When you donate right now, your gift will be doubled! We’ve received a generous $65,000 match, significantly increasing the impact of your donation. Please donate now to make the most impact.
Kids for the Boundary Waters, 40th Anniversary Celebration, October 22, 2018.
Living with cancer is no joke, but it is also a surprisingly good teacher. Although I’ll still be sorting lessons for years to come, the one thing I have learned for sure is that sometimes life only gives you one chance to get it done. This is it. This is our chance to save America’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
On behalf of Kids4BW Wilderness Warriors and the Save The Boundary Waters Campaign, thank you. Your support – your email, your comments, your amplification of our voices and, of course, your donation dollars, are all critically important as we work towards permanent protection of the Boundary Waters.
Suit Up. Show Up. Repeat
On October 21, 1978, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act was signed by Jimmy Carter, protecting the Boundary Waters.
This past week, on October 22, 2018, Boundary Waters lovers from across the country came together to celebrate the Wilderness and inspire the continued fight to keep the Boundary Waters clean and protected for future generations.
Guests arrive early in the evening for the start of the VIP reception.
Conversations and smiles are exchanged in the outdoor tent space.
NMW Co-chair Adam Fletcher, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and Special Guest Christy Goldfuss share stories and laughs.
Experts from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center chat with guests about these striking birds.
Guests peruse the silent auction table before placing their bids.
Beautiful scenery from the Boundary Waters Wilderness is projected over the party below.
Old friends reunite before sitting down for dinner.
Special guests Tom Vilsack, Betty McCollum, and Walter Mondale greet happily as they take their seats.
First speaker of the evening: Becky Rom, National Campaign Chair.
Second speaker of the evening: Erik Paulsen, U.S. Representative.
Third speaker of the evening: Betty McCollum, U.S. Representative.
Fourth speaker of the evening: Walter Mondale, Vice President of the United States.
Fifth speaker of the evening: Tom Vilsack, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Sixth speaker of the evening: Christy Goldfuss, Former Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Joseph Goldstein, founder of Kids for the Boundary Waters, speaks after receiving the Outstanding Wilderness Warrior Award.
Four board members of Kids for the Boundary Waters.
Roger Powell stands proudly with his refurbished canoe before the live auction.
Roger Powell portages his canoe between tables during the live auction!
Guests "raise their paddles" to bid in the live auction and donation waterfall.
Every seat was filled in support of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Act.
Following the dinner and auction, Universoul brought new energy to the room with music and dancing.
Thanks to all who attended the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Act. The celebration was energizing and filled with hope for the future of this wilderness; here's to 40 more years of Boundary Waters protection!
This past September, the Trump Administration officials announced that the application for a mineral withdrawal, which would have protected Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Wilderness from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining, was cancelled. The Administration ignored science and facts, and did not complete a promised study on the social, economic and environmental harm that sulfide-ore copper mining would do to America’s most visited Wilderness. There is no indication the required environmental assessment was ever completed nor was it ever put out for public comment, which is normal practice.
Secretary Sonny Perdue’s Promise:
In May 2017, in response to Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D, MN), two senior members of the Trump Administration – Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), and Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service – promised the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Committee that they would “absolutely” complete an all-important environmental study intended to determine whether the watershed flowing into the Boundary Waters is the right place to consider sulfide-ore copper mining.
The study was initiated in January, 2017, when the U.S. Forest Service submitted its formal request that federal lands in the Boundary Waters watershed be put off-limits to new mineral leasing and exploration for 20 years — a type of action called a “mineral withdrawal.”
Secretary Perdue Broke His Promise:
On September 6, 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture cancelled the Forest Service’s application for a withdrawal before the environmental study was complete. In doing so, he not only broke his word, but also turned his back on the Boundary Waters and all who love it.
How do we know the environmental study was never completed?
The USDA’s September 6 press release never exactly said that the agency had completed it, and failed to provide a link to the study.
The Secretary’s cancelation of the study happened nearly two months before the U.S. Forest Service’s estimated date for when the final environmental review document would be available (November 1, 2018).
The U.S. Forest Service admits it did not complete the environmental study. In an email responding to our written request for a copy of the completed environmental assessment (EA), The Press Officer for the Forest Service responded: “We do not have a completed EA to send you, because we determined there was not any need to complete the process on an environmental assessment based on what we learned over the last 15 months.”
Here are some of the facts behind the decision to open up Superior National Forest to sulfide-ore copper mining:
$950 MILLION MORE FROM AN AMENITY-BASED ECONOMY THAN A COPPER MINE - The same 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.
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.
1. Scoping comment letter (part 3) of NMW et al. Northern Minnesota Federal Minerals Withdrawal EIS 8-17-2017