Two recent public opinion polls paid for by environmental groups show broad concern about the possibility of copper-nickel mining in northeastern Minnesota.
In a survey commissioned by the Save the Boundary Waters campaign, a polling firm often used by President Donald Trump’s campaign found considerable opposition to mining in the Boundary Waters watershed, with 60 percent of Minnesotans opposed and 30 percent in favor.
Even in northeastern Minnesota, where support for mining is typically the highest, half of the voters interviewed were opposed to mining near the Boundary Waters.
An overwhelming majority of respondents support the two-year pause in new mineral leases while federal agencies review the potential of mining in the wilderness watershed. Seventy-nine percent of people favor the pause, including two-thirds of people who identified themselves as Republican.
The other poll was conducted by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership. It found that found 52 percent of those polled opposed copper mines in the region, with 32 percent in favor. The group also says that 72 percent of Minnesotans are concerned about mine runoff polluting the Boundary Waters.
“Since we’ve been tracking public opinion on sulfide mining in Minnesota, we’ve seen Minnesotans’ opposition to such mining operations steadily increase,” said Steve Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership.