Forest Service Downgrades Twin Metals Environmental Review

Governor Makes Statement on Issue

MINNEAPOLIS-The U.S. Forest Service is downgrading an environmental review for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The Forest Service says it will do an environmental assessment, rather than an environmental impact statement, on Twin Metals’ proposed project.

Supporters say the mine would bring hundreds of needed jobs. Opponents fear the mining could lead to sulfuric acid and other toxic chemicals into a watershed that leads to Lake Superior.

The Forest Service says it’s changing plans because no significant environmental impacts have been identified during a long public scoping period.
But the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters said the change means less opportunity for public input and rigorous scientific analysis.

The following is a statement from Governor Mark Dayton:

“It’s terrible that the Trump Administration is putting the financial interests of the Chilean mining conglomerate, Antofagasta, ahead of protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for generations of Minnesotans and other Americans. The administration is downgrading its analysis of the impact of copper-nickel mining on the BWCA watershed and, shamefully, exempting from that review, Antofagasta’s proposed underground mine directly adjacent to the iconic wilderness area.

“Incredibly, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management now says that Antofagasta’s leases of federal land are to be automatically renewed, which would mean that the company would control the public’s land in perpetuity.

“I urge the administration to disclose who persuaded it to steamroll responsible review and protection of this priceless natural resource in favor of copper-nickel mining profits.”