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Reader's View: Clean water more valuable than corporate profit

In fact, the history of sulfide mining is so rife with contamination that Wisconsin enacted a law (since rescinded) that prohibited new sulfide mines unless a company could prove it had operated a mine for 10 years without contamination and was still not polluting 10 years after closure.

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During recent history, big lies have most notably been perpetrated by the likes of fascist authoritarians, including Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin (among others). As Mark Twain once said, “The truth has no defense against a fool determined to believe a lie.”

When it comes to proposed sulfide-ore copper mines in northern Minnesota, supporters of a foreign-owned mining company, Twin Metals, have their own version of what has to be a big lie. One proponent told a doozy, saying in a commentary in the Jan. 14 News Tribune that “the potential for acid rock drainage … is zero” (Local View: “Acid rock drainage a nonissue with Twin Metals mine”).

In fact, the history of sulfide mining is so rife with contamination that Wisconsin enacted a law (since rescinded) that prohibited new sulfide mines unless a company could prove it had operated a mine for 10 years without contamination and was still not polluting 10 years after closure. No mining companies were able to meet that test. None, as the National Wildlife Federation and Conservation Minnesota reported in 2011 and 2012.

“There has never been a copper/sulfide mine that hasn’t leached. Never,” Land Tawney, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers president and CEO, said in 2020. That’s because sulfide mining is a filthy process that leaves 1 ton of toxic waste for every pound or two of metal extracted.

Gladly, during January, the Biden administration canceled two mining leases associated with the proposed Twin Metals sulfide mine. “Cheers (to) the Boundary Waters with a nice glass of cool, clean water and rest easy knowing that we just took another major step to keep the water of the Boundary Waters cleaner than what you get out of your tap,” Tawney said in response.

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Hunters and anglers thank the Biden administration for recognizing that clean water is more valuable than copper and corporate profit.

David Lien

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The writer is formerly of Grand Rapids, was a founder and is a former chairman of Minnesota Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, and is the author of "Hunting for Experience II: Tales of Hunting & Habitat Conservation." For additional information on this subject, he suggests visiting sportsmenbwca.org


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