Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Across the Northland, Environmental Protection, Responsible Mining and Good Paying Jobs All Go Together!

Feb 9, 2017
Press Release
Featured in Congressman Nolan's Monday Report

Now and forever, I am unequivocally committed to prohibiting mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), ensuring the integrity of a tough environmental review process, creating good paying jobs, and protecting ALL the waters of Minnesota and the Nation as sacred trusts for countless generations to come. One of the most critical challenges of our time is balancing the responsibility to preserve and protect our precious environment with the need for mining and good paying jobs. We have the brains, the advanced technology, the need and the political will to do both. But if we attempt to do one without the other, we’ll fail at both and everyone will lose.

That’s why I’m so committed to a thorough, rigorous environmental review process based on facts and science. EVERY jobs and economic development project – be it in mining, agriculture, energy, manufacturing or forestry – must undergo and meet the test or not go forward.

The Obama Administration recognized the need for an orderly environmental review process nearly two years ago when it rejected an earlier proposal for a costly and duplicative Programmatic Environmental Impact Study (PEIS) of copper and nickel mining in the Superior National Forest. As the Administration recognized at the time, the environmental review process can’t be responsibly undertaken without a specific proposal to review. And there is still no specific mining project being proposed for Superior National Forest.

The recent reversal of the Administration’s initial decision during its final days subverts and threatens the very existence and integrity of the environmental review process. Moreover, this reversal denies the opportunity for future mining projects before there is even one single project to review. That’s why I have urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to overturn the new order. Rejecting any business activity out of hand before you know what it is – and what kind of pollution abatement technology will be implemented, or how effective it will be – lacks common sense and good judgment.  

So again, to be clear, as an original cosponsor of the legislation that established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area as wilderness, I will never support mining in the BWCA, or any project that fails to meet our strict environmental protection standards. That’s why I have consistently received high marks on scorecards from environmental groups – including 100% from the National Parks Conservation Association. I’m proud of my work and I’m going to stay at it. We have the cleanest water in the state and we’re going to keep it that way.