Protecting the Boundary Waters, Wildlife from Destructive Mining, Harmful Sulfuric Acid

Washington, D.C. — The Biden Administration’s cancellation of sulfide-ore mining leases that threatened to leach sulfuric acid into the headwaters of the Rainy River Watershed will ensure that pristine wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, and abundant recreation opportunities are preserved in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

"The reasons to safeguard the magnificent Boundary Waters, America’s most popular wilderness area, are as crystal clear as the pristine waters of the Rainy River Watershed,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The Boundary Waters are a natural treasure that is simply too important to risk—and the costs for people and wildlife too steep. The Biden Administration’s decision will safeguard essential habitat for hundreds of wildlife species and protect thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic benefits that depend upon the Boundary Waters’ world-class camping, hiking, paddling, fishing, and hunting.”

“Allowing sulfide-ore copper mining upstream from the ‘crown jewel of Up North’ would have been devastating to the hundreds of wildlife species that make their home in the pristine watershed and would have threatened a billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy that supports 17,000 jobs,” said Brad Gausman, executive director of the Minnesota Conservation Federation. “We applaud the administration’s decision to cancel these dangerous leases.”

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the most popular federal wilderness area in the country, encompassing 1.1 million acres open to hunting and fishing, boasting 1,500 miles of canoe and kayak trails, and providing habitat for 230 species of wildlife. 

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