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Trump Admin. Cancels Detailed Review of Mining Ban Near MN Wilderness

by Countable | 1.29.18

What’s the story?

The Forest Service will no longer prepare a full-scale "environmental impact statement" (EIS) on the effects of mining in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters.

Instead, the Interior Department will conduct a less rigorous "environmental assessment" (EA) on how blocking mining would impact the surrounding wilderness.

Industry groups cheered the decision while environmentalists and state politicians criticized the downgrade.

Why does it matter?

The move comes a month after the Interior Department announced it was renewing mining licenses for a Chilean mining company that wants to mine for copper and nickel in an area adjacent to Boundary Waters.

A spokesperson for the Forest Service defended downgrading the EIS to an EA:

"This decision lives up to the USDA Forest Service’s commitment to conduct a thorough environmental analysis of the Rainy River watershed, within the two year period, that relies on sound science and fully engages the public."

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum decried the move:

But Minnesota Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan said the decision "is the sensible and correct one, based on facts and science." He continued:

"Moreover, should the withdrawal fail to receive approval, any proposed mining project for this area of the Superior National Forest will still need to go through a rigorous, extensive environmental review process at both the state and federal level."

What do you think?

Do you agree with McCollum that "this decision is yet another part of the Trump agenda to turn our public lands and natural treasures into industrial wastelands for private profit"? Or do you support the Trump administration easing mining restrictions across the nation? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Greg Gjerdingen via Flickr)

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(108)
  • Donna
    01/29/2018
    ···

    I am sure most of the votes cast for the America First rhetoric we all lived through in 2016 believed it was aimed at the citizens of the nation. Over the last year, however, it has become apparent that it really meant American companies and profits first and foremost. Have DJT and Zinke visit southeastern CO and the Animas and San Juan rivers to view first hand how irresponsible this decision is. If that is not enough, offer them a drink of the sludge spill. Maybe send them home with a few gallons for their families. Maybe that will convince them that environmental studies and responsibility do matter. Zinke was confirmed as a protector of our public lands. He has done a horrible job. Isn't that grounds for dismissal? I would be fired in a heartbeat if I performed as poorly at my job as he has at his. Once again, I ask where the hell our ELECTED representatives with OVERSIGHT RESPONSIBILITY are hiding. You are all a disgrace to the offices you hold -- for now.

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  • Peter
    01/29/2018
    ···

    Somebody should fire that idiot Zinke. He is hellbent on destroying our country and then the earth all for a couple of bucks. What happened to America First? I understand this is for a company in Chile with ties to Trump’s kids.

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  • Aran
    01/29/2018
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    Once again the Trump administration is rolling back regulations under the guise of simplifying things when they're putting American citizens at risk just to serve business interests. We're all going to feel the impact from these decisions on our health and in our environment.

    Like (33)
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  • BeStrong
    01/29/2018
    ···

    What is being done in the light of day in Trump-Zinke’s EPA is desolate. These are our National treasures, they were promised protection-which, Mr Zinke, is what the “P” in EPA represents. ...”Waste from the mining of sulfide ore produces an acid that has leached toxic metals and other contaminants into water flowing from the national park”. Again it’s Profits before Americans.

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  • RadicalModerate
    01/29/2018
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    Ultra capitalist extremists have bought the White House. Sound investment.

    Like (30)
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  • Jeanne
    01/29/2018
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    Clearly 45 despises our planet and our environment. He’ll do anything to make a profit for himself and the 1%. This is yet another pander to his small base of supporters and will most likely be challenged with lawsuits.

    Like (23)
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  • WaterHopsBarley
    01/29/2018
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    I’ve been to the boundary waters, and let me assure you they are worth protecting. Mining will inevitably destroy something pristine, and then it’ll be gone forever.

    Like (19)
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  • Milan
    01/29/2018
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    Congress should be ashamed of selling out our planet earth to money minded greedy corporations! I hope you all drown in toxic sludge

    Like (16)
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  • Sue
    01/29/2018
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    I strongly oppose this move to make mining-to a foreign company- available in our protected areas. Water will be ruined for millions not to mention the land that will spoiled due to this raping of our land. NO to this action and Zinke must be fired. The whole damned lot of them!

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  • John
    01/29/2018
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    Zinke and 45 can’t be trusted to do anything except kow-tow to extractive industries.

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  • Cindy
    01/29/2018
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    NO, NO, NO to this nonsense... when #45 said he would “drain the swamp”, what he meant was “I’m going to fill the sewer”. All his Cabinet appointees are enemies of the Agencies they’re in charge of. Talk about putting the fox in the henhouse 😡. This entire Administration is repulsive. We need to get rid of all of them! #BlueWave2018

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  • Marc
    01/29/2018
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    This is a license to pollute. Nothing but

    Like (8)
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  • Promise
    01/29/2018
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    I dare any of you to go and drink the water after a mine has left the area. Don’t blame the EPA for the toxic water. This will all be on you. Mining companies never clean their sites or restore them after they are done. That’s too expensive and they would just declare bankruptcy if we tried to make them.

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  • Terri
    01/29/2018
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    Seriously pisses me off. We need to protect our national treasures and water. I think these two would sell their mothers if it meant money in their pockets. Believe me, it won’t stop here.

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  • Kim
    01/29/2018
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    Environmental reviews are in place to make sure we are not overworking the land, that people in the surrounding areas are not affected by the work that is being done, and to make sure we put people over businesses. There is no practical and moral reason to have undone this review process. Please, hold President Trump accountable to serve American people and not corporations. Lives are always more important than money.

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  • Suzanne
    01/30/2018
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    No mining near The Minnesota Wilderness! This is environmental madness!

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  • Jessie
    01/29/2018
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    A full environmental review is critical to ensure the health and vitality of the beautiful Northern Minnesota region. The tourism industry depends on the health of the water. It is unacceptable and reckless to skip the review process.

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  • brewdood
    01/29/2018
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    I have been to the pristine Boundary Waters several times. It's disheartening that there are those who will cause the end to this isolated spirit land. Pure evil.

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  • Marla
    01/29/2018
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    Here is another example of business interests taking priority over our environment. The preservation of such a pristine area is priceless. Once mining operations are allowed without credible and substantive environmental analysis reports there is no accountability. I am disheartened by such irresponsible decision. It does not help either the fact that a foreign mining company from Chile will be acquiring the rights to explore our native land. Where does the slogan “Make AMERICA Great again “ fit in this scenario?

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  • Bonnie
    01/29/2018
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    This is a lame and pitiful evasion of accountability on the part of government and big business to adequately protect our environment and natural resources. Do NOT settle for this. This is the only home we will ever have, and it must remain clean and habitable for us and future generations.

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