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Environmental Leaders Support the National Park and Wilderness Water Protection Act

April 17, 2015
Press Release


Washington, DC – Yesterday, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H.R. 1796 the National Park and Wilderness Water Protection Act. Following that introduction, environmental leaders from Minnesota and around the nation praised the bill.

“I received a petition with over 65,000 signatures along with hundreds of calls from Minnesotans asking me to protect Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area,” said Congresswoman McCollum. “I am proud to represent the voices of my constituents on this issue here in Congress and to have the support of environmental leaders from around the country. Protecting these great national treasures is an important priority for Minnesotans and Americans from across the country.”

Environmental advocacy groups at both the state and national level have been quick to praise the National Park and Wilderness Water Protection Act. Statements of support from those groups are below:

"The Sierra Club applauds Rep. Betty McCollum for introducing the National Park and Wilderness Water Protection Act. This legislation will help ensure that the pristine waters and lands of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park are protected from the threat of toxic sulfide mining, which has never been done safely and threatens communities and waters near the BWCA, Lake Superior, and across the Arrowhead Region. We urge Congress to pass this bill, to make sure that these national treasures are preserved for individuals and families today, and for future generations." 

-       Margaret Levin, State Director, Sierra Club North Star Chapter

“Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are outdoor gems—places so valuable to wildlife, people, and our outdoor heritage that we cannot allow environmentally destructive practices to occur there. That’s why the National Wildlife Federation support the National Park and Wilderness Water Protection Act. The bill will help protect these critically important wilderness areas and parks from mining so that they can continue to provide a home for fish and wildlife as well as a place of enjoyment for hikers, campers, anglers, bird-watchers, and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts. We thank U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum for her leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with public officials to pass this bill.”

–      National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O'Mara

"Sulfide-ore copper mining has the potential to permanently ruin one of the most treasured river and wetland habitats in the country for future paddlers, fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts. Our concern for the impacts of this mining on the Boundary Waters region led to its inclusion on our 2013 list of America's Most Endangered Rivers. Some places are too special to turn into an industrial zone. We appreciate the leadership of Representative McCollum and her introduction of National Park and Wilderness Waters Protection Act in protecting this pristine wilderness from harmful mining.”

-       Brendan Mysliwiec, Associate Director, Government Relations, American Rivers

“We support Congresswoman McCollum’s National Park and Wilderness Water Protection Act.  Nearly 250,000 visitors to Voyageurs National Park each year rely on clean water for boating, fishing, and wildlife-watching.  However, proposed sulfide mining upstream threatens the park’s waters, people and wildlife and the businesses that rely on park visitors.  With contaminates like mercury already impairing park waters and requiring fish advisories, we cannot allow mining to take place upstream until we better understand the full environmental impacts it will have on our treasured places. As the National Park System’s 100th anniversary approaches, we should work together to make sure our parks thrive in their second century and this legislation will help us do that.”

-       Christine Goepfert, Upper Midwest Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association 

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of our nation’s most popular wilderness areas and is a world-class destination for canoeing, fishing and camping. We applaud Congresswoman McCollum for her leadership and work to protect this incredible place and ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy its natural wonders.”

-       Jeremy Garncarz, Senior Director at The Wilderness Society

““This Act is crucial to protecting large portions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park from acid mine drainage. Sulfide-ore copper mining would do more harm than good to this beloved region. Allowing industrialized mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters would not only pollute water, it would also destroy National Forest lands in areas now used for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, dogsledding, hiking, skiing, canoeing, logging and other activities.”

-       Becky Rom, third-generation Ely resident and chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.




Congresswoman McCollum is the ranking Democratic member on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and the Democratic co-chair of the Native American Caucus.