Thousands of Petitions Signed to Halt Twin Metals Lease Renewal

BWCAW Supporters Deliver 65,000 Signed Petitions

Supporters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness delivered a message in Duluth today, with over 65,000 copies attached.

Four concerned speakers stood behind a hand decorated canoe, with thousands of signatures from a previous petition.

Today’s message was to urge the US Forest Service to deny Twin Metals a renewal of two sulfide-ore copper leases near the Boundary Waters.

The petition signers are worried about significant water pollution mining activity could cause.

People on this side of the issue believe a proposed copper mine near Ely could ruin America’s most popular wilderness.

“We do not want to frame this issue as jobs versus the environment. We see this issue as what is best for the common good. We do not think this is good for Minnesota,” Gay Trachsel, who is part of the League of Women Voters said.

The campaign to save the boundary waters is partnering up, including conservationists, sportspeople, and members of both veteran and faith organizations.

Some local business owners near the BWCAW believe a mineral lease renewal would impact nearly 17,000 jobs ranging from tourism, hospitality, and retail, potentially causing millions of dollars in economic damage.

“This new type of risky sulfide–ore copper mining creates sulfuric acid and that’s the problem, sulfuric acid pollutes the watershed,” Jason Zabokrtsy, a member of the campaign to save the Boundary Waters said.

But there are many folks who disagree with those who delivered these petitions today.

Those in favor of renewing the Twin Metals mineral leases say the project would create thousands of new jobs on the Iron Range, and that many precautions would be in place to protect the environment from harm. 

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