U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that she backs the decision by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Interior (DOI) to complete a two-year study that will determine the safety of copper-nickel mining in the watershed that feeds the world-renowned Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The safety study was abruptly halted in 2018, without explanation.
“Mining is an important tradition in Northeast Minnesota and an ongoing source of good jobs,” Smith said in a statement. “At the same time, the BWCAW is fragile and most Minnesotans understand that we can’t afford to be wrong about its protection. This study will help us get the safety of mining in the BWCAW watershed right.”