Target: Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan
Goal: Keep companies from mining in Superior National Forest.
In the final days of the Obama administration, the U.S. Forest Service made a move to protect over 230,000 acres of wilderness in northeastern Minnesota from exploitation by mining companies. In response, Congressman Rick Nolan, who represents northeastern Minnesota, has tried to persuade the USDA under the new Trump administration to reverse this protection and open the floodgates for mining within Superior National Forest.
The affected area includes the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which has previously been targeted for sulfide mining, which could potentially devastate the local ecosystem and waterways. Interestingly, the BWCA was originally established due to legislation for which Nolan was a co-sponsor. It is disappointing that he would now take steps that are so decidedly hostile to the very entity he helped to create. These areas contain pristine boreal forest, wetlands, and lake habitats which are rich in both fish and wildlife.
Nolan’s move has been met with disapproval from other Minnesota Democrats as well as environmental groups and the Minnesota public at large. The Boundary Waters are enjoyed by canoeists and fishermen alike, and the area is popular for recreation in addition to its environmental importance. There is also the threat that a mining incident could contaminate the groundwater, leaving local populations without safe drinking water.
Urge Congressman Rick Nolan to honor his previously stated commitments to protect the Boundary Waters and to not move forward with plans to open up the forest to destructive mining. Sign this petition to demand that Congressman Nolan not allow mining companies to devastate Superior National Forest or the Boundary Waters.
Dear Congressman Nolan,
The U.S. Forest Service recognized the unique value that Superior National Forest holds as a vast expanse of sensitive northern woodlands habitat that should be protected and preserved for generations to come. That is why they made the move to prevent mining companies from causing harm to the land, its waterways and the many species of wildlife who call the region home. In the past, you yourself had made moves to help protect northeastern Minnesota’s vulnerable wilderness when you co-sponsored legislation that created the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It was mining that threatened the region then, and it is mining again that could forever alter and destroy the forest.
Companies like Polymet and others wish to establish sulfide mines that could contaminate drinking water and leach pollution into the waterways, which would have impacts for wildlife and recreation in the area for decades to come. Many have voiced concerns regarding Polymet in particular, a Canadian-based company which has never actually operated a mine, getting their hold on the forest lands and the Boundary Waters. The risks are far too great to hope for the best. Mining accidents are sadly not infrequent. It is rather an issue of when, not if, an incident will occur. While the creation of jobs is an important issue for Minnesotans, access to clean drinking water and the preservation of our cherished natural heritage are also top priorities. I urge you to make these your priorities as well, and to stand against allowing mining companies to plunder Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Geoffrie