White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association

News & Updates Blog

Forest Service seeking comments on future mining projects in the BWCAW watershed

Update to the Jan 18th WICOLA Latest News Post

The U.S. Forest Service made formal its proposal to call a two-year timeout on new mining around the edges of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Forest Service plan, announced in December at the same time the federal government denied critical mineral leases to the Twin Metals copper project near Ely, will prevent any new mining projects or exploration on 234,328 acres in the Superior National Forest.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017

The Forest Service says the land and water immediately around the BWCAW may be too fragile to withstand potential contamination from copper-nickel mining.

This January 13th action triggers public comment period on agency’s plan to withdraw the land from the federal minerals leasing program.

The Forest Service and the Department of Interior are seeking comments from the public to help them decide on whether they should extend the current two-year moratorium on this dangerous type of mining in the Wilderness watershed for the next 20 years.

The Forest Service states that “Comments are most useful if they refer to an activity or mitigation rather than stated values. For example comments such as ‘This area is used by many people for gathering berries’ can help us inform the analysis more than the comment ‘I do/don’t think you should withdraw federal mineral leases”.

In addition to the public meeting held March 16th at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, the U.S. Forest Service has announced they will be holding two additional public meetings on the proposed long-term protections for the watershed of the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017
    Saint Paul RiverCentre, Exhibit Hall A
    5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 4:30 p.m.)
    Map & Directions »
    Tuesday, July 25, 2017
    Virginia High School, Auditorium
    5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 4:30 p.m.)
    Map & Directions »

In addition to the public meetings, comments can be sent to (deadline is August 11, 2017):

For more information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/projects/superior/landmanagement/projects and click on “developing proposal.”

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Ely, MN 55731

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