Phillips Helps Introduce Critical Legislation to Preserve and Protect the BWCA

April 22, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) helped announce the reintroduction of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act, legislation that would safeguard the pristine BWCA and prevent sulfide-ore copper mining in the Superior National Forest. The bill is led by Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-04) and Rep. Phillips is an original co-sponsor.

The Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act would prohibit sulfide-ore copper mining within 234,000 acres of federal wilderness in the Rainy River Drainage Basin, where the surface waters and groundwaters flow directly into the BWCA. Far more toxic than Minnesota’s traditional form of iron-ore and taconite mining, pollution from sulfide-ore copper mining can last for thousands of years and is almost impossible to contain.

“For as long as we have been a state, the Boundary Waters has been a source of natural beauty, local prosperity, and Minnesotan pride,” said Rep. Phillips. “This legislation would honor that tradition and ensure that the BWCA remains pristine and unpolluted for generations to come. I am thankful for the leadership of Rep. McCollum and I am proud to join her and the countless Minnesotans who are working tirelessly to protect public lands and preserve our national treasures.”

The Boundary Waters is the most popular wilderness destination in the country, with more than 150,000 visitors each year. In addition to its negative environmental and public health impacts, an independent study from the Harvard Department of Economics found that pollution from sulfide-ore copper mining would threaten the 17,000 jobs that the BWCA brings to Minnesota.

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