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McCollum Commends Biden Administration Actions Protecting Boundary Waters

October 20, 2021
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) commended the Biden administration for its announcement today that it will be completing a “science-based environmental analysis” of the potential impacts of mining within the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The U.S. Forest Service has submitted a withdrawal application to the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the subsurface rights in the Superior National Forest. These actions will initiate the consideration of a 20-year withdrawal of 225,378 acres of federal lands and waters within the Rainy River Watershed from new mineral leasing.

Congresswoman McCollum released the following statement:

“Today’s action by the Biden administration is a welcome return to the science-based decision making that should govern the management of our public lands,” Rep. McCollum said. “After years of broken promises and ongoing obstruction of taxpayer-funded data from the prior administration, I am pleased that President Biden is committed to completing the necessary analysis to understand the impacts that sulfide-ore mining could have on this priceless reserve of fresh water, the biodiverse habitat it supports, and the economic livelihood of the surrounding community. All of us who care deeply about protecting the pristine Boundary Waters and its watershed for future generations look forward to seeing the results of this comprehensive study.”

As noted in the USDA and DOI press release, only Congress can legislate a permanent mineral withdrawal. Congresswoman McCollum introduced H.R. 2794, the Boundary Waters Protection and Pollution Prevention Act, to permanently withdraw 234,328 acres of federal lands and waters from risky sulfide-ore copper mining. More information on the legislation can be found here.