The Trump administration recently moved to open more than 200,000 acres of land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) watershed to copper and nickel mining, overturning previous protections implemented by the Obama administration. The mining companies argue that there is minimal risk for pollution. This contradicts scientific studies conducted in the region, which warned that a single mine in the BWCA watershed would distribute significant levels of toxins, which would pollute the BWCA for decades. Mining activity along the Lake Superior North Shore caused significant destruction to Lake Superior in the 1970s, which took many years to rectify. The BWCA ecosystem is similarly vulnerable to the risks of industry and human-induced climate change.
As a lifelong Minnesotan, I grew up experiencing the natural beauty and wonder of the North Shore and northern Minnesota’s protected wilderness areas. The Trump administration’s policies toward northern Minnesota’s natural resources not only put Minnesota’s natural wilderness areas at risk, they threaten the state’s tourism and recreational areas. It is in the mutual interests of all Minnesotans and for posterity to preserve the state’s natural beauty. We all have a stake in the health of our environment and the conservation of our natural resources. How much are we willing to sacrifice in terms of long-term, irreparable environmental destruction, for short-term economic gain?
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