Election 2016

Yet Another Natural American Treasure Is Under Threat

esquire.comThere are few places in this country more beautiful than the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, which is contained by the equally staggering Superior National Forest. So, naturally, it’s just the perfect place to drop a massive copper mine.

Over the weekend, former vice president Walter Mondale and Teddy Roosevelt IV wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling our attention to this free-market brainstorm.

The prospect of any major industrial activity in the watershed of such a place would be deeply troubling. But this kind of heavy-metal mining is in a destructive class all its own. Enormous amounts of unusable waste rock containing sulfides are left behind on the surface. A byproduct of this kind of mining is sulfuric acid, which often finds its way into nearby waterways. Similar mines around the country have already poisoned lakes and thousands of miles of streams. The consequence of acid mine drainage polluting the pristine Boundary Waters would be catastrophic. It is a risk we simply can’t take. Scientific evaluations of the project and the industry’s destructive record point to a major threat to a treasured ecosystem. Poison the headwaters, poison the system. And this mine would poison not just the Boundary Waters but also Voyageurs National Park, which is on the wilderness’s northwest corner, and the adjacent Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario.

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