Last night was a Forest Service listening session concerning allowing copper sulfide mining adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Wilderness.(More)

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For some unknown reason, the pro-mining folks all stayed away from last night’s Forest Service Listening Session about allowing copper sulfie mining at the edge of the BWCA.

A group of 17 organizations that support the mining proposal boycotted the event, while speakers from a crowd of about 1,000 were unanimous in opposing copper-nickel mining in a watershed on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park.

It became their night to talk about the beauty and solitude of a wilderness that not only has become a tradition in some families for generations but supports thriving recreational and tourist businesses. One by one, speakers lined up in the event hall at St. Paul RiverCentre, urging federal officials to ban copper-nickel mining, which they say would threaten the northern forests and lakes.

In seeking public opinion, federal officials were inundated with 20,000 comments via e-mail, mail and phone calls during the first 30 days, prompting them to extend the usual 90-day comment period by another 120 days. Since then, federal officials have received “many tens of thousands more,” said Jason Kirchner, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

You can still write a comment to the Forest Service at

FYI political camps are not applicable here. Some Republicans who own small businesses, resorts, guiding etc. are loudly against mining. Some Democrats who are playing on the memories of “good mining jobs” are pro mining. I am glad I don’t vote on the iron range because I’d have a really hard time voting for Rick Nolan. I have volunteered for him in the past but this is a forest too far.

Also FYI, the mining company, owned by Chileans, Chinese and Canadians, promises 280 mining jobs. Tourism employs 116,000. Hello!

Please take a minute to email the Forest Service and remind them that the “Earth is our home, not our trashcan.”

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