Clean water or mining pollution for the nation’s favorite wilderness? – by Mike Dombeck (The Hill – July 8, 2019)

When you picture wilderness, the first thing that comes to mind may be the shoreline of a clean, unpolluted lake. Which is reasonable given the protections we provide to national wilderness areas.

But that is likely to change if the Trump administration and Twin Metals Minnesota have their way. Twin Metals is a mining firm owned by Chilean conglomerate Antofagasta.

The aggressive push by the Trump administration to force approval of a sulfide-ore copper and nickel mine in northern Minnesota’s Superior National Forest will almost certainly pollute the waters of the nation’s third largest National Forest and vast Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The administration recently announced renewal of two mining leases for Twin Metals.

If pollution weren’t bad enough, reporting by the Wall Street Journal and more recently by the New York Times reveals a business connection between the Trump family and the billionaire family that controls the Chilean mining conglomerate. The firm has aggressively lobbied the administration to approve the Minnesota copper mine.

No doubt, jobs and the economy are important. But if we want to look at this issue through a business lens, let’s remember that our wild public lands are vital to the U.S. economy.

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