Opposition to Sulfide Mining within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Watershed

Number: 2015-08

WHEREAS, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is one of the great, intact freshwater wetland complexes left on the planet, encompassing over 1 million acres; and

WHEREAS, the BWCAW is home to more than 230 animal species, including numerous endangered, threatened or protected species; and

WHEREAS, the BWCAW is America’s most popular Wilderness Area, attracting more than 250,000 people annually from around the world, contributing $100 million annually to the local economy; and

WHEREAS, BWCAW’s 1,500 miles of canoe and kayak water trails fuel the local economies of many northern Minnesota communities and is dependent on an intact and fully functioning ecosystem; and

WHEREAS, there are valuable minerals present within sulfide ore bodies within the BWCAW watershed;

WHEREAS, ore and waste rock with significant sulfides produces acidic, metals-contaminated wastewater – acid mine drainage – when exposed to air and water;

WHEREAS, when acid mine drainage is released to rivers, lakes, groundwater, or soil it is extremely damaging to fish and wildlife and their habitats;

WHEREAS, according to mining industry publications, not a single one of more than  3,000 sulfide mines on  record have operated   without damaging environmental releases;

WHEREAS, any sizeable sulfide mine in the watershed of the BWCAW puts at risk the water quality and quantity of the BWCAW, potentially altering the hydrology and ecology of vast acreage of wetlands and wildlife habitat, including endangered species habitat, damaging the wilderness experience for countless visitors and therefore hurting the local tourist economy;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Wildlife Federation at its Annual Meeting assembled March 27-29, 2015, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, hereby registers its formal opposition to a sulfide mine within the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Wilderness and calls on all state, local and federal officials to take all lawful action to prevent a sulfide mine from being sited in that area.