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subject From the ACA: Act Tonight to Save the Boundary Waters
author Chris Weed
city Burlington
posted Tuesday Jan 22nd 2019, 9:40 PM

Many people who see this post may have received the following from the American Canoe Association tonight:

Act Tonight to Save the Boundary Waters.

We write to make you aware of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) stated intent to renew two expired hardrock mineral leases in the headwaters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (Boundary Waters). Throughout 2018, we repeatedly voiced our opinion against the renewal of these leases, and sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters.

      The Boundary Waters is one of America’s most iconic paddling landscapes, and America's most visited Wilderness area, 1.1 million acres of pristine water and unspoiled woodlands. This area contains 20% of all freshwater in the entire National Forest system, supports and protects critical wildlife habitat, a $913 million dollar tourism industry that supports 17,000 jobs, and of course world renowned paddling experiences. 

      The Boundary Waters is intimately linked to the heart and soul of the greater paddling community. There are few places in the world that offer the kinds of quiet flat water experiences one can have paddling through this region. It is simply not replaceable. Reinstating these 52-year-old leases, exposes the Boundary Waters to an unacceptable level of risk, potentially devastating impacts that would negatively impact the environment and the paddling community.

      In addition, the BLM provided a very narrow 30-day public comment period on the Environmental Assessment (EA) released on December 20th, 2018. The ACA feels strongly that this is not an adequate time frame to comment on a document that does not fully address the environmental impacts of sulfide-ore copper mining. Renewing these leases threatens one of our most cherished resources, and opens the door for a corridor of industrial development that will destroy water quality through leached sulfuric acids, and result in the loss of aquatic life, forests and biodiversity. Just one mine could pollute the Boundary Waters for centuries, comprising the integrity of the environment, and the quality of the paddling experiences that we so deeply value.

      The ACA submitted an official comment to the BLM and asked that they do not renew the leases, allow the Forest Service time to complete a more thorough EA, provide an extension on the comment period to Monday, March 25th, and base all decisions on the best available science. You can read the letter and access accompanying resources by visiting our National Policy Initiatives page.

If you would like to take action, please do so TONIGHT. The comment period ends at midnight.

  1. We encourage you to provide your own comment directly here: BLM Comment Submission Form
  2. If you would like to sign on to comment to the BLM using a form letter, please use this link through our partnership with the Outdoor Alliance: Petition Interior to Protect the Boundary Waters from Mining

Please read the full Environmental Assessment here: Draft Environmental Assessment for Twin Metals Lease Renewal 2019

Finally, for your reference our submission ID for the ACA’s official comment to the Bureau of Land Management is: 1352-1353-1-399752

Thank you supporting the ACA and voicing your concern to help protect one of the nation’s most iconic paddling landscapes.


Brett Mayer

Public Policy Chief
ACA | Canoe - Kayak - SUP - Raft – Rescue

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