Biden move could block Twin Metals copper mine near BWCA

2021-10-20 14:00:03 –

Minneapolis-The Biden administration hits a proposed twin-metal copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota on Wednesday with a possible ban on mining upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for 20 years. I ordered.

The US Forest Department has applied to the Bureau of Land Management for a “mineral withdrawal.” This begins with a two-year comprehensive study of the potential environmental and other implications of the mining industry if allowed in the inflow basins. Boundary water area.

“A place like Boundary Waters should be enjoyed and protected by everyone, not just for today, but for future generations,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Today, the Biden administration is important to ensure that it has all the science and public opinion needed to make informed decisions about how mining activity will affect this particular place. We are taking wise steps. “

The Biden administration has taken some environmental steps to overturn the initiative of the previous administration. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden restored the Bears Years and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, revoking the decision by President Donald Trump to open them for mining and other developments. Biden also killed the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but did not stop the Embridge Energy Line 3 oil pipeline, disappointing the Environmental and Native American groups.

The Obama administration sought to thwart the Twin Metal project by launching a similar mineral recovery survey in the last few weeks because of the potential threat to boundary waters from acid mine drainage. However, the Trump administration canceled 20 months of the 24-month process and reinstated the federal mining rights lease for projects that the Obama administration did not renew.

Since then, as it is today, one of the main decision makers was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Birsak, who oversaw the Forest Department and held the same position under President Barack Obama.

“The boundary waters area is an irreplaceable natural resource famous for quality fishing, wildlife observation and recreational opportunities,” Billsack said in a statement. He said the Forest and Land Management Departments “completed careful environmental analysis and involved the general public on whether future mining should be allowed on federal land adjacent to this magnificent and unique wilderness resource.” rice field.

This decision poses a serious obstacle to the Twin Metals project, but it does not kill it altogether. According to the announcement, the order will affect land upstream of Boundary Waters, the country’s most visited wilderness area. It prohibits the issuance of new exploration permits or leases for mining-related activities in the area. Authorities said they are currently subject to federal court opposition but will not affect valid existing rights or activities on private land, including the lease of Twin Metals in the region.

Opponents said Twin Metals could not operate if the investigation would bring a 20-year moratorium to mining in areas, the longest ban that the Biden administration could impose. Only Congress could make it permanent. The government will soon begin a 90-day review process. This includes the participation of public authorities, state governments, local governments, tribal governments, and other stakeholders.

“Twin Metals Minnesota is deeply disappointed by the federal government’s action to start another mineral recovery survey on approximately 230,000 acres of land in northeastern Minnesota on the world’s largest known undeveloped copper-nickel deposit. “The company said. statement. “We are working to determine the best path to keep the proposed world-class underground copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metal mines moving forward.”

When Twin Metals, owned by Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, submitted a formal mining plan to federal and state regulators in 2019, the company said its design prevented acidic drainage from sulfide-containing ores and polluted the wilderness. Said to protect from.

Environmental groups have challenged the claim and challenged the renewal of the lease in court. They welcomed the announcement.

“This is a great first step on the road to permanent protection,” Becky Rom, national chairman of the campaign to save border waters, said in a statement. “The next step appropriate for the administration is to cancel the two twin metal leases that the Trump administration has illegally revived.”

“This is a victory for clean water. It’s a victory for millions of people who have experienced the wonders of science, law, and boundary water,” said Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Executive Director. Chris Knopf said in a statement.

“This national treasure needs to be protected by sound and scientific principles, not by special interests or the whims of industry. Today, the Biden administration has signaled that it will do exactly that,” Kunov said. rice field.

However, Republican Rep. Pete Stauber, who represents northeastern Minnesota, accused Biden of “prioritizing politics over science” and resumed the campaign, bringing more miners to the region. It promises to secure an American mineral supply chain. He promised to overturn the decision.

“Today’s announcement further demonstrates that Parliamentary Biden administration and Democrats cannot do the right thing for union members and families working in northeastern Minnesota,” Stauber said in a statement.

Twin Metals are not connected to the proposed PolyMet open pit copper nickel mines and processing plants at nearby Lakes Babbitt and Hoyt, where the approval process is much more advanced. PolyMet, with a majority shareholder in Swiss commodity giant Glencore, will be the first copper nickel mine in Minnesota, but the project remains bound by court and regulatory proceedings.

Biden move could block Twin Metals copper mine near BWCA Source link Biden move could block Twin Metals copper mine near BWCA

Back to top button