Boundary Waters at Risk – by Carlos Rivero Lopez and Jenny Rowland-Shea (Center for American Progress – May 8, 2019)

Center for American Progress

Trump’s Attempts to Shortcut Science and Ignore Local Concerns Are Endangering Minnesota Wilderness

In early April, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) faced off against Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during a hearing of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

The congresswoman lambasted Perdue for the last-minute cancelation of a two-year study meant to determine if mining should be allowed on the doorstep of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the nation’s most visited wilderness area.1 The study was canceled 20 months into the 24-month review.

“Twenty months of collecting public input, 20 months of science-based assessment, and all you released was a one-page press release,” objected McCollum, calling the press release “completely inadequate.”

Previously, during a 2017 Interior-Environment appropriations hearing, Perdue promised McCollum that a thorough two-year study would be conducted and completed. McCollum maintained that by stopping the study, he had “started a roller coaster of events that will lead to, possibly, the destruction of these pristine waters.”2

The showdown between Rep. McCollum and Secretary Perdue highlights the Trump administration’s efforts to remove protections from the wilderness’s watershed and its broader assault on public lands and waters on behalf of extractive industries.

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