Biden says “bye” to mining

Biden says bye to mining

Imagine cutting through still waters on a canoe, surrounded by nothing but steam rising off the lake and miles of thick forest, undisturbed by the industrial world’s presence. To achieve this, the Biden Administration began the new year by issuing a 20-year ban on mining within the 225,378 acres located upstream from Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness watershed, possibly shaping the future of the American wild lands’ conservation. 

“I would have to say that the Biden Administration has the wildlife and land in its best interest, and by banning mining in these particular areas, the life will remain reserved,” Zoe Goins, senior, said. 

The moratorium, a temporary prohibition, was announced on Jan. 26th, following a year-long pause in copper and nickel mining in the area. Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, a copper-nickel mining company, initially had plans to purchase the area to establish an underground mine. The recent ban has since decreased the possibility of this project taking place, though the company is attempting to sue to reinstate its old lease. Environmentalists consider the halt of this mining initiative to be a great step in the right direction to preventing pollution in the watershed. However, many are quick to point out that the mining block would prevent many new job from opportunities. 

“Protecting a place like Boundary Waters is key to supporting the health of the watershed and its surrounding wildlife, upholding our Tribal trust and treaty responsibilities, and boosting the local recreation economy,” Deb Haaland, the secretary of the Interior Department, said. 

The Boundary Waters are amongst the most visited wilderness lands in the United States and are the traditional home of the indigenous tribe Anishinaabe (sometimes known as the Chippewa). They continue to hold treaty rights as a sovereign nation to hunt, fish, and gather on the land. Biden Administration officials have resolved that instating a mine in the area could possibly leach harmful substances into the waterways, therefore posing a threat to tribal communities and wildlife. This was cited as a major reason behind the mining block. 

The moratorium will cover roughly 350 square miles of watershed in the Superior National Forest, which sits upstream from Minnesota’s [Boundary Waters] and includes grounds where Chippewa tribes hunt and fish,” Inside Climate News said. 

Though the move has sparked controversy amongst businessmen and activists, climate and tribal rights activists continue to insist that the mining moratorium is in America’s best interest. They applaud the Biden Administration for moving forward in its efforts to conserve the American wilderness.