By Marshall Helmberger
REGIONAL— Minnesota’s Fourth District Congresswoman Betty McCollum has introduced legislation in Washington that would prohibit sulfide-based copper-nickel mining in portions of the Superior National Forest located upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“Visitors from all over the world, all Americans, and especially Minnesotans who are proud to have it in our backyard know the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a special place,” Rep. McCollumsaid in a statement issued Wednesday. “From the pristine, clear waters, to the stillness and quiet that is nearly unmatched anywhere else in the nation – this place is a refuge and source of adventure for many. The BWCAW is intact today because of more than a century of protections. We have an obligation to continue this legacy.”
The bill, identified as H.R. 5598, would permanently withdraw approximately 234,000 acres of federal land within the Rainy River watershed from the federal mineral leasing program for sulfide-based minerals. The measure would not impact mineral leasing or mining for taconite, iron ore, granite, or gravel, which would still be allowed under the bill.