“The BWCA is at stake” says former supervisor of Superior National Forest

Base Map courtesy USGS.

“We must stop the political do-over on the Twin Metals mine. Experience shows that pollution is probable. It may be catastrophic. The BWCA is at stake.”

Former forest supervisor of the Superior National Forest, Brenda Halter, spoke out this week in the Star Tribune in stark rejection of the Twin Metals mining project. Before retiring in 2016, she worked with Tom Tidwell, then chief of the Forest Service, and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to evaluate the potential of renewing mineral leases and copper mining so near the Boundary Waters.

Mount Polley mine breach, photo via Wikipedia

The Mount Polley mine disaster in British Columbia occurred in the midst of those reviews in 2014. A tailings pond breach spilled millions of cubic yards of mine waste into nearby lakes and salmon-producing rivers — putting their work in sharp focus.

“The history of copper mining clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of these mines fail. They may fail catastrophically, or they may leak contaminants over time, leading to inevitable environmental damage or collapse” Brenda writes. “Once the mine fails, there is simply no way to contain it without sacrificing the wilderness and the long-term economic sustainability that it supports. All of the science and all of our experience tell us that in this extremely valuable, water-rich and highly interconnected place, you simply cannot have both.”

Is there hope for counteracting the forces now moving copper-nickel mining forward? Her words are poignant.“We must continue to speak up, we must stay engaged and we must ensure that our grandchildren won’t ever have to say: I remember the day the Twin Metals Mine failed. I remember the Boundary Waters.”

Read the entire article here >

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