RELEASE: Trump Administration’s Support for a Minnesota Mine Endangers the Boundary Waters Wilderness, CAP Issue Brief Says

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration is shortcutting science and ignoring local concerns to let a massive mining company exploit one of the nation’s most popular wilderness areas, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress.

Twin Metals Minnesota wants to mine copper and nickel in northern Minnesota just outside the pristine 1.1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. While the Obama administration had blocked the mineral leases, the Trump administration abruptly reversed course without proper scientific assessment, the issue brief says.

“The Trump administration’s systematic efforts to remove protections from the Boundary Waters watershed is part of its broader assault on public lands and waters on behalf of the mining industry,” said Jenny Rowland-Shea, a senior policy analyst for public lands at CAP and a co-author of the brief. “In its mission to bypass the regulatory process, the current administration has overwritten legal opinions, disregarded environmental law, quashed scientific assessment, and ignored public opinion.”

Sulfide-ore mining, the process Twin Metals would use to mine heavy metals, is well documented for causing catastrophic pollution. The pollutants from acid mine drainage can contaminate the land surface, soils, and groundwater and then run downstream directly into the wilderness refuge.

Local opposition to the mine from Minnesota businesses has been swift and vocal. On May 7, a group of 30 retired forest service officials sent a letter to the heads of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture expressing “grave concerns” about the mine and the damage it could cause near the Boundary Waters.

Read the issue brief: “Boundary Waters at Risk: Trump’s Attempts to Shortcut Science and Ignore Local Concerns Are Endangering Minnesota Wilderness” by Carlos Rivero Lopez and Jenny Rowland-Shea.

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202.478.6327.