Two-Year Study Proposed for Copper-Nickel Mining in BWCA

Study Still Up in the Air

ST. PAUL, Minn.-U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum says she has won assurances from the Trump administration that it will proceed with a two-year study on whether copper-nickel mining should be permitted on federal lands in the watershed that flows into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

The Minnesota Democrat pressed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on the scientific review, which was launched under the Obama administration, during a congressional hearing Thursday.

Perdue told McCollum he has already discussed the study with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. He says they’re going to let it run its course and make no decision before it concludes. He says he’s committed to “do no harm.”

At the same hearing, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell acknowledged the study could conclude that mining near the Boundary Waters “may be too hazardous.”

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