Protesters Oppose Mining in National Forest

Crowd Gathered Outside Congressman Nolan's Office Following Recent Announcement

DULUTH, Minn. – A group of protesters gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s downtown Duluth office Thursday.

Earlier in the week, Rep. Nolan coming out in favor of reversing the Obama Administration decision which blocked mining in more than 234,000 acres of the Superior National Forest.  These acres are close to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which has been protected by federal law since the 1970s.

Several Ely, Minn. business owners were among the protesters.  Jason Zabokrtsky, owner of the Ely Outfitting Company says mining in the Superior National Forest could have a devastating effect on the Boundary Waters.

“This is the most toxic industry in America,” said Zabokrtsky.  “They want to put it right on the edge of America’s most popular wilderness area.  It’s a gem of the 8th District of Minnesota, we can’t have it.  It’s gonna pollute if it does what it does every single time, and that’s gonna put me out of business and other people who rely on clean water.”

Rep. Nolan actually co–sponsored 1978’s BWCA Multiple–Use Compromise and says he is committed to protecting the Boundary Waters while potential mining projects will be handled responsibly.

“I’m committed to good paying jobs in mining, manufacturing, forestry, I’m also committed to the environment,” said Rep. Nolan (D, Minnesota) in a video statement released by his office.  “The simple truth is abandoning one or the other and everybody loses and you end up with neither.”

Congressman Nolan added there are no specific mining projects proposed for the land in question.