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 a 90-day 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 on whether they should stop leasing federal minerals in the BWCA watershed to mining companies for the next twenty 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”.
A public meeting to accept comments on the plan will be held March 16 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
In addition to the public meeting, comments can be sent to:
- Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest, 8901 Grand Avenue Place, Duluth, MN 55808-1122
- Posted to the US Forest Service - Superior National Forest Website;
- Faxed to (218) 626-4398.
For more information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/projects/superior/landmanagement/projectsand click on “developing proposal.”
PO Box 493
Ely, MN 55731
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