The Biden administration has taken action to safeguard the most popular wilderness region in the United States.
A directive prohibiting mining on around 225,504 acres of national forest that surrounds Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was signed by interior secretary Deb Haaland on Thursday.
For the benefit of all Americans, the Department of the Interior takes seriously its responsibility to manage public lands and waters. According to a statement from Haalands, safeguarding a location like the Boundary Waters is essential for preserving the well-being of the watershed and the wildlife that lives there, maintaining our obligations under treaties and Tribal trusts, and fostering the local leisure industry.
I’ve made this choice utilizing the finest available science and a lot of public feedback with the goal of preserving this particular area for future generations.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was legally declared in 1964. It covers more than a million acres of boreal woodland in the Superior National Forest and spans for about 150 miles along Minnesota’s border with Canada. It is notably well-liked by paddlers and contains more than 1,200 miles of canoe routes.
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It is the only temperate lake-based wilderness region in the U.S. wilderness system. According to Save the Boundary Waters, it also provides a home for 316 bird species, approximately 50% of Minnesota’s native fish, and federally threatened species like the Canada lynx, the northern long-eared bat, and the grey wolf.
Last but not least, the combination of wetlands and forests serves as a carbon sink, keeping carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and causing the climate problem.
The New York Times stated that Twin Metals Minnesota LLC’s intention to construct an underground copper and nickel mine in Ely, Minnesota, has given rise to worries that the region could be in danger.
Save the Boundary Waters issued a warning that the proposal may cause acid mine drainage to contaminate the area’s waterways, clear trees that serve as habitat and carbon sinks, and consume as much energy as the Minnesota town of Duluth.
Two mining leases held by Twin Metals Minnesota since the 1960s were renewed in 2019 by the Trump administration, according to HuffPost. The Trump family is associated with Chilean billionaire Andr Nico Luksic, who supported the project and owns the Chilean corporation Antofagasta, which owns Twin Metals. The Department of the Interior (DOI) claimed at the time that the Biden administration canceled the leases around a year ago, claiming that the Trump administration had wrongly extended them.
The decision made on Thursday does not terminate any current leases. According to the DOI, the Public Land Order 7917 signed by Haaland removes more areas of the Superior National Forest from mining leasing for a period of 20 years. HuffPost and The New York Times both speculate that this could spell the end for the Twin Metals mine.
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The corporation expressed its disappointment and shock at the news in a statement provided to HuffPost, adding that the minerals may have facilitated the move to renewable energy.
According to Twin Metals Minnesota, this area is home to one of the largest deposits of critical minerals in the world, which is essential for achieving our country’s objectives to transition to a clean energy future, create American jobs, boost domestic supply chains, and strengthen national security.
We continue to be dedicated to upholding Twin Metals’ rights because we feel that our project is essential in achieving each of these concerns.
According to DOI, the decision was made after more than a year of research, more than 200,000 public submissions, and input from local Indigenous communities. Environmental organizations supported it.
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The National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, Becky Rom, said in a statement that “today’s science-based decision is a tremendous triumph for Boundary Waters protection.” “You don’t permit America’s most hazardous industry to be located close to America’s most well-known Wilderness.
A wonderland of water and trees is the Boundary Waters. It is an ecological wonder, a premier outdoor vacation spot, and an economic engine for thousands of people and hundreds of enterprises. This choice brings the United States one step closer to permanently conserving this cherished Wilderness.