Today, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness filed a suit against the federal government. The lawsuit challenges the present administration’s arbitrary use of the law to serve the interests of a foreign-owned mining conglomerate.
For years, Twin Metals, a subsidiary of Chilean-owned mining giant Antofagasta, has been trying to open a sulfide-ore mine at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
After they applied to renew their land leases in 2012, the US Forest Service conducted an extensive review and concluded the potential risk posed by a copper-nickel sulfide ore mine within the same watershed as the BWCAW was unacceptable as it might cause irreversable harm to a unique, iconic and irreplaceable wilderness area.
Twin Metals’ application was denied and the leases expired.
The BWCAW was safe. For a time, the thousands of people whose lives have been touched and transformed by this wilderness could rest easy.
Then the 2016 elections happened. Under new leadership, the Department of the Interior ignored the contractual language and concluded no government agency could block Twin Metals from renewing their leases.
This conclusion was based on a torturous reading of the law and flat out ignored the fact that the leases could only be renewed with consent from the Forest Service.
Such an arbitrary, capricious handling of the law was done to serve the shareholders of a foreign-owned company, not the people who own the land. That is, the people of the United States.
Today we took action.
Today we said no, we will not allow greed to endanger our beloved wilderness.
For more details, feel free to take a look at the full text of the complaint.