Mining threatens to pollute the Boundary Waters

When we’re canoeing, camping, fishing and hiking near the Boundary Waters, we’re all careful to leave the lakes and forest in the same pristine condition we found them.

So why would anyone allow a new, risky type of mining—called sulfide mining—in the area? Yet:

  • Out-of-state mining companies are already doing exploratory drilling right outside the Boundary Waters.
  • Runoff from this type of mining can pollute waters with sulfuric acid, heavy metals and mercury—killing fish and making water unsafe to drink.

We’re building massive public support to stand up to the mining industry and protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide mining. We’re asking President Obama to make sure we don’t risk it by allowing dangerous sulfide mining in the area.

Too important to risk

The Boundary Waters is one of the most amazing and pristine wilderness areas in the world, and the most special place in Minnesota.

But mining companies like Twin Metals are trying to conduct toxic sulfide mining right next to the Boundary Waters. Sulfide mines cause acid mine drainage, which could leach into the Boundary Waters watershed, threatening these pristine waters with sulfuric acid, heavy metals, increased mercury levels and other toxic pollution.

The Boundary Waters are too important to put at risk of this dangerous mining pollution. We can protect this Minnesota treasure by not allowing toxic sulfide mines near the Boundary Waters, but the mining companies are using their political influence and deep pockets to try to fast-track mine proposals.

Together, we can win

Members and supporters like you make it possible for our staff to do research, make our case to the media, testify in St. Paul and Washington, D.C., and demonstrate the public support necessary to deliver the protections we need for places like the Boundary Waters.

Clean water updates

News Release | Environment America

House passes sweeping PFAS protections: 2025 ban on military use, Superfund cleanup and clean water safeguards

The U.S. House approved a host of provisions today to address widespread drinking water contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The annual defense spending bill would phase out the military’s use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams by 2025 — a major source of drinking water contamination. The bill would also designate all PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under Superfund and toxic pollutants under the Clean Water Act, spurring cleanup and reducing discharges into waterways, respectively.

Both chambers have now incorporated our request to rapidly phase out the military’s use of PFAS. This is what communities and service members deserve. The House wants this phaseout by 2025, while the Senate says 2023. We are gratified to see this Congressional race to the top.

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News Release | Environment America

Senate approves 2023 ban on military’s toxic PFAS foams

The U.S. Senate passed its annual defense policy bill today with a host of provisions to address widespread drinking water contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). One key provision would phase out the military’s use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams — a major source of pollution — by 2023. By incorporating our request to adopt a 3-year timeline for phasing out military use of PFAS, the Senate bill prevents further contamination quickly — which is what communities and service members deserve.

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News Release | Environment America

Statement: House should adopt three-year phaseout of PFAS in military

The U.S. House Committee on Armed Services approved provisions in the annual defense policy bill early this morning that would phase out the military’s use of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams. Right now, Congress has a critical opportunity to stamp out a major threat to our public health. Millions of people across the country are currently drinking water contaminated with toxic PFAS chemicals. Eliminating the use of these chemicals is the best way to protect our drinking water from these dangerous substances.

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News Release | Environment America

Statement: Senate hearing highlights need for clean water protections

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing this morning on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to replace the Clean Water Rule. The proposed rule would roll back protections for much of America’s network of waterways. The administration’s ‘Dirty Water Rule’ would leave vast networks of America’s rivers, lakes and streams vulnerable to pollution, endangering wildlife and public health. It flies in the face of common sense, sound science and public opinion.

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News Release | Environment America

Senate committee advances bipartisan bill to phase out PFAS in military

The U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services today announced legislation to phase out the military’s use of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams. As part of the annual defense spending bill, called The National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon would be restricted from purchasing PFAS foams after 2022, and prohibited from using PFAS foams after 2023. We applaud the bipartisan group of senators who came together this week to protect our drinking water from these toxic chemicals. Ending the use of these persistent, cancer-causing chemicals is the best way to prevent contamination. From Michigan to North Carolina, families are grateful for this week’s progress and counting on Congress to finish the job.

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