Rep. Phillips praises new protections for Minnesota's Boundary Waters
– Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) praised the Biden Administration’s announcement of new protections of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) and surrounding watershed in northeastern Minnesota. The White House will initiate consideration of a 20-year withdrawal of key portions of the national forest lands from disposition under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws, which would temporarily prohibit the issuance of new prospecting permits and leases in the area – a critical step towards preserving this unique natural wilderness.
“The BWCA is a Minnesota and national treasure,” said Rep. Phillips. “I’m grateful that the White House has reached the same conclusion as so many people in our state – we must rely on sound scientific consensus and sufficient public input when making decisions about mining activities around these pristine waters. I will continue to stand alongside Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a remarkable leader on this issue, to pass legislation to keep the BWCA unpolluted for generations to come.”
The Biden Administration is picking up where the Obama Administration left off. In 2016, the Obama administration initiated steps to withdraw portions of the watershed from new mineral permits and leases. In 2018, the Trump administration canceled the Forest Service’s withdrawal application and the associated environmental review after three public meetings already had been conducted, more than 90,000 public comments collected, with almost two years of environmental analyses undertaken.