Boundary Waters’ Protections Safeguard Water, Wildlife, Rural Economies

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 26, 2023) — The 20-year withdrawal of mining leases that threatened to leach sulfuric acid into the pristine headwaters of the Rainy River Watershed will ensure that its wildlife, clean drinking water, and abundant recreation opportunities are preserved in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The welcome and long-overdue mining withdrawal also will protect the people and ways of life that depend on this unique and untouched landscape. 

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the most magnificent landscapes in America and provides outstanding habitat for moose, bear, otters, lynx, wolves, and hundreds of species of birds,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Allowing sulfide-ore mining in the headwaters of the ‘crown jewel of Up North’ would be 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. Secretary Deb Haaland’s decision is one that future generations will look back upon with gratitude.”

“Across the country, the significance of the historic decision by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to implement 20-year protections for the Boundary Waters is being celebrated. Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters would like to express our deepest gratitude to this Administration for its leadership in protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from sulfide-ore copper mining,” said Lukas Leaf, executive director of Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters. “Not only is this announcement a milestone in the history of the BWCA, but it also affirms the immeasurable value of the Boundary Waters to Minnesota's outdoor economy, its unparalleled recreational opportunities, and its contribution to the legacy of our nation's public lands and waters. Thank you to all who have stood shoulder to shoulder with us for years in defense of the Boundary Waters.”



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