CWCS - Conservationists With Common Sense
Conservationists With Common Sense

Talking Points for comments on USFS land withdrawal from future mining in the Superior National Forest



Below are several comments to make in regard to the federal land withdrawal in the Superior National Forest from future mining. Pick a few comments to expand upon and put them in a letter/email with some comments of your own. It is best to not have a form type response with your comments.

Comments may be submitted by email to:

Comments must be submitted by 4/19/2017.

We are strongly opposed to the federal government’s proposal to withdraw more than 230,000 acres of federal land and minerals in Northeast Minnesota from future leasing, exploration and development.

The 1978 BWCA Wilderness Act designated 220,000 acres along the Echo Trail, Fernberg Trail and Gunflint Trail as a Mining Protection Area.

Land to the southern border of the Boundary Waters along Highway 1 is a Mineral Management Corridor. This is where the Duluth Complex is located.

The addition of 68,000 acres to the Boundary Waters with the passage of 1978 BWCA Wilderness Act had an adverse affect on the region’s economy by banning logging in this area. These acres had previously been known as the portal zone or buffer to the Boundary Waters which allowed logging.

Withdrawal of nearly a quarter million acres from the Superior National Forest of future mining will have a devastating impact on the region’s economy, eliminating the promise of thousands of good-paying jobs and billions of dollars in local investment.

This action will not only affect copper/nickel mining, but taconite mining as well. Northshore Mining Company would be prevented from any expansion to its mine.

Such a withdrawal will cause the loss of billions of dollars in potential revenues to the Minnesota Permanent School Trust Fund, which supports K-12 education throughout the state.

This withdrawal would provide no additional environmental protections in the region. Waters of the region are already protected by strict state and federal environmental standards.

Mining is already prohibited within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Voyageurs National Park.

Mining is restricted in the BWCA and in the 222,000-acre Mining Protection Area along the Echo Trail, Fernberg Trail and the Gunflint Trail.

Acreage to the southeast border of the Boundary Waters is a Mineral Management Area, which includes the Duluth Complex, rich in mineral deposits. This area allows mining.

We need to think globally and act locally in regard to mining. Minnesota has some of the strict pollution regulations to assure mining is done right and to protect our environment. Other countries, such as Russia, China, and those in South America do not have pollution regulations. The pollution from China and Russia ends up coming around to the U.S.

Copper, nickel and other precious metals are needed to be mined here in the United States to protect our national security.

The U.S. economy and its national security are at risk because the domestic Strategic Materials industry is shrinking.

95 percent of the minerals needed by the Pentagon for our national defense is controlled by China. If China chooses not to sell the U.S. the minerals needed this will definitely be a national security issue.

China, Russia and other places around the world that mine these minerals do not have the pollution regulations to protect the environment that we have here in Minnesota.

Northeastern Minnesota has mined sulfate hard-rock ores for over 100 years and managed to protect our environment and watersheds.

The U.S. economy and its national security are at risk because the domestic Strategic Materials industry is shrinking.

New mining technology, environmental safeguards, as well as money put up front by mining companies to address any problems or closure of the mine, are in place.

In a recent poll:
• More than 60 percent support the Twin Metals underground copper-nickel project.
• 60 percent oppose actions by the federal government to prohibit all future mining in the region's Superior National Forest.
• 66 percent oppose any actions by the Obama Administration to permanently withdraw federal lands and minerals in northeastern Minnesota from future development.
• More than 80 percent of those surveyed support the process of allowing copper-nickel projects to be developed and submitted for 'rigorous state and federal environmental review.'