Hearing in Duluth Will Offer Opportunity for Public Input on Mining

Exploratory drilling near the South Kawishiwi River
Exploratory drilling near the South Kawishiwi River (Photo by Greg Seitz)

A public meeting scheduled for Thursday evening will give citizens a chance to share opinions about the proposal to withdraw National Forest lands in the Boundary Waters watershed from mining for 20 years.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are hosting the event. Chances to give testimony will be limited to three minutes per person, and assigned by a lottery, due to anticipated interest. Another hearing will be held later on the Iron Range, at a date and location to be determined.

Thursday, March 16
5 to 7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 4 p.m.)
Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center
350 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN 55802

Because of the high level of interest in the proposal, the Forest Service has also extended the comment period another 120 days. Comments to be submitted until midnight CDT, August 17, 2017. Comments received at this time will be considered when developing a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) studying the proposed withdrawal.

“Scoping comments will be used to determine issues associated with the proposed federal minerals withdrawal, develop alternatives to the proposed action, determine the scope of analysis, and refine the analysis of effects,” the BLM stated. “Scoping comments are most useful if they refer to an activity or mitigation rather than stated values.”

The Forest Service and BLM propose to remove 234,328 acres of National Forest lands from mineral leasing for 20 years—the maximum period allowed by law. The area is adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness within the Rainy River watershed on the Superior National Forest.

Written comments may be submitted via U.S. Mail to the Superior National Forest, ATT: Minerals Withdrawal, 8901 Grand Ave. Place, Duluth, MN 55808. Comments may also be sent via email to: comments-eastern-superior@fs.fed.us or via fax to 218-626-4398.

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