A mineral rush is underway across the upper Great Lakes region. The waters, forests and wildlife of the Lake Superior basin share their homelands with deposits of copper, nickel, gold, uranium and other metals. Within a few miles of Great Lakes shoreline, one mine is already proposed, and exploration is spreading like wildfire, fueled by worldwide demand and increasing metal prices.
The neighboring states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, as well as the province of Ontario, operate independently of one another when it comes to permitting, regulating, and monitoring prospective mines. And yet water is not constrained by state borders and neither are pollutants. The environmental impacts of sulfide mining in one of these jurisdictions may reach well beyond its border. Federal oversight of permitting and monitoring new mines is severely limited, but sorely needed.
With the recent boom in exploration across the Lake Superior basin, proper oversight has never been more important.
Recognizing the need for consistent review, regulation and enforcement, the National Wildlife Federation undertook an extensive examination of the laws and their implementation in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario. Specifically, we asked:
Water is the most important natural resource in the Lake Superior basin and the long-term value of fresh water far outstrips that of any mineral or any mine. Sulfide mining is well known for its negative impact on water. This report's analysis and the subsequent recommendations offer proactive steps to protect the water, people, and traditions of the Great Lakes Basin.
Sulfide mining is well known for its negative impact on water. This analysis and the subsequent recommendations offer proactive steps to protect the water, people, and traditions of the Great Lakes Basin.
The crisis isn't just a global problem—we're facing it in our own backyards. Meet some of the species that are already seeing an impact.Read More
President and CEO Collin O’Mara reveals in a TEDx Talk why it is essential to connect our children and future generations with wildlife and the outdoors—and how doing so is good for our health, economy, and environment.Watch Now
What's on deck with the National Wildlife Federation? Check out our scheduled events—we just might be coming to a city near you!See Events
Place your order today for the themed box that delivers everything you need to create family memories while discovering nature and wildlife.Learn More
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.