Border Water Pollution Prevention and Wildlife Protection Act Would Ensure Future Generations Enjoy Public Waters
WASHINGTON, DC — Backcountry Hunters & Anglers welcomes the reintroduction of the Boundary Waters Pollution Prevention and Wilderness Protection Act, legislation sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) that would permanently protect the Boundary Waters wilderness Waters Canoe Area, the most visited wilderness area in the United States. A permanent withdrawal from sulfide ore mining in the Upper National Forest upstream of Boundary Waters is critical to ensuring that future generations can enjoy this crown jewel of Minnesota public lands.
“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the watershed that feeds it are national treasures that deserve permanent protection,” said Land Tawney, president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “We are grateful that Congresswoman McCollum has introduced legislation to do just that, and we ask her colleagues to do the same. Protecting such a special place now and for future generations will ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to experience this unique landscape and that it continues to provide clean water for many. Pass this legislation now!”
Hunters, fishermen and others have long been in strong opposition to Twin Metals’ proposed foreign-owned sulfide ore copper mine located within the Boundary Waters basin. This mining method is unrelated to Minnesota’s Iron Range heritage and has a poor industrial track record that threatens the complexly interconnected hydrology of the Boundary Waters. Representative McCollum’s bill would maintain the region’s pristine ecological quality, unparalleled hunting and fishing opportunities, and the sustainable economic role of local communities.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has fought for the permanent protection of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its surrounding watershed since the Minnesota chapter’s formation in 2010,” said Aaron Hebeisen, Minnesota chapter coordinator. “It was one of our founding principles and continues to be a key issue for our members. We recognize the importance of mining to northern Minnesota and that this bill would allow traditional mining practices to take place, if mining deposits of taconite and iron ore are located here and can continue to be mined safely. responsible for the ecosystem. While we welcome the recently announced administrative withdrawal of minerals by the US Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, we support the Border Water Pollution Prevention and Wilderness Protection Act as the only solution to permanently protect this nationally treasured area.”
“We applaud Representative McCollum’s unwavering dedication to achieving permanent protection of border waters. On the heels of the recently announced 20-year mineral withdrawal, this important legislation represents the final step to ensure that border waters are protected in perpetuity from copper sulfide mining for future generations of hunters, fishermen and paddlers,” he said. Lukes Leaf. , Executive Director of Sportsmen for Boundary Waters. “We urge all outdoor enthusiasts across the country to contact your members of Congress to express your support for this critical bill.”
Last week, the Biden administration made the decision to place a 20-year moratorium on mining in Boundary Waters following environmental analysis of Boundary Waters and the potential effects of copper and nickel mining in this pristine basin. This decision was applauded by BHA. The administration’s withdrawal prohibits the development of new mineral leases on approximately 225,504 acres of Superior National Forest land within the Boundary Waters watershed for 20 years. However, only Congress can institute permanent mineral extraction.
Last July, Representative McCollum’s bill was introduced by the House Natural Resources Committee. Along with all the other bills that failed to pass during the 117th Congress, it formally expired on January 3, 2023. This reintroduction once again marks the opportunity to permanently protect our frontier waters for future generations of hunters and fishermen. .
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