ELY, MN–Today a Trump appointed U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C. upheld the Trump Administration reversal of Twin Metals’ lease termination. The reversal is being challenged through a lawsuit brought by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and 9 Northeastern Minnesota businesses against the Trump Administration. The lawsuit challenges the legality of a May 2018 temporary reinstatement of expired mineral leases. Those leases were since officially renewed. These leases were not renewed in 2016 when, after years of study and overwhelming public comment, the U.S. Forest Service concluded that copper mining under these leases posed an unacceptable risk of irreparable damage to the Boundary Waters and surrounding Superior National Forest lands and waters.
“Today is a slap in the face to science, the rule of law, the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and the American people,” said Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters Executive Director Tom Landwehr. “This decision failed to recognize the clear, plain language of the leases and twisted itself into knots to justify the predetermined policy decision of the Trump Administration to sell out America’s most popular Wilderness to a Chilean billionaire who also happens to be the landlord of Ivanka Trump. We intend to appeal this misguided ruling.”
Minnesotans overwhelmingly oppose mining near the Boundary Waters. A recent Star Tribune/MPR poll showed that by a 3-1 margin Minnesotans opposed sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters. Less than a quarter of Minnesotans supported new mining near the Wilderness. Significantly, responses did not vary greatly between regions of the state, with 54% of Northern Minnesota residents opposed and only 26% in favor.
The Trump Administration has continued to hide critical scientific data on the danger of sulfide-ore copper mining, refusing calls by Congress, the media, and the public to release the data.