Patagonia Executive Explains Opposition to Mines Near the Boundary Waters

Oyster Lake, BWCAW
Oyster Lake, BWCAW (Alan Strakey via Flickr)

In a recent column on MinnPost, outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia’s director of public relations – and former Obama press secretary – explained why he believes copper-nickel mining and the Boundary Waters watershed are incompatible.

Adam Fetcher, a native Minnesotan and board member of the Boundary Waters Trust, wrote that coming back to canoe country last summer after several years away had been a shock:

Under a soft rain, my dreams were filled with dread: The Boundary Waters is facing a dire threat from proposed sulfide-ore mining within its watershed, less than a mile from the wilderness edge. This type of mining is especially toxic. Scientific analysis, including a recent study published in the Journal of Hydrology, show that pollution could flow directly downstream into the heart of the Boundary Waters and devastate the entire ecosystem for hundreds of years. Like the blood in our veins, the area’s interconnected system of lakes and rivers can be instantly damaged by even the smallest intrusion. The EPA called sulfide-ore mining “the most toxic industry in America.”

Read Fetcher’s commentary →

Fetcher closed the article by calling on people who love the Boundary Waters to speak up for its protection.

Patagonia, founded in 1973, employs 2,000 people and brought in $600 million in revenue in 2013. The conservation-conscious corporation has previously publicized the Minnesota mining issue in a 2013 blog post featuring a short video made by employee Nate Ptacek, and a 2014 post and video about Dave and Amy Freeman’s Paddle to D.C. expedition.

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