The Three-Legged Frog presented a documentary Tuesday, Feb. 9 about the dangers the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area is facing. Sulfide mining companies want to renew their permit leases on the edges of the Boundary Waters. If they are allowed to mine there, it could potentially contaminate and pollute the surrounding waters and wilderness area.
Because the mining areas are directly next to the Boundary Waters there is no way the wilderness wouldn’t be affected if the mining companies are allowed to renew their leases. They currently are not mining but they have the potential to at any moment, so the only way to protect the area is to revoke their leases.
The reason sulfide mining is so risky is because sulfuric rocks are found deep within the earth, and when these rocks are brought up to the surface they mix with the oxygen in the air and create sulfuric acid, a highly corrosive acid and known toxin.
Sulfuric acid destroys and burns any animals or plants that are exposed to it and is toxic for aquatic life, according to the National Pollutant Inventory. It’s been reported that 100 percent of sulfide mining world-wide creates toxic runoff and contamination that effect the surrounding areas for decades to come.
Scientists who were asked about the potential hazard this mining could cause the Boundary Waters said there is no way to operate a mine of this caliber next to a protected wilderness area. They cannot coexist.
The movie presentation the Eco-Club put on was about a couple that lives in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for one whole year from Sept. 23, 2015 – Sept. 23, 2016 to raise awareness about the irrevocable damage mining would create for the aquatic ecosystems of the wilderness area.
Dave and Amy Freeman worked with the Save The Boundary Waters Campaign and created media publicity about sulfide mining’s potential effects on BWCA. There were articles and news stories about The Freemans in The Duluth Tribune, The Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, The Today Show, and Governor Mark Dayton even coming to visit them on their journey and said he had grave concerns about mining Minnesota’s “crowned jewel.”
In December 2016, the Freeman’s hard work paid off and the leasing permits were revoked. The U.S. Forestry Services declined the leases but are currently conducting an environmental review of the Boundary Waters watershed and are asking for public input.
So far 74,000 people have signed petitions against sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters, but there is a 90 day comment period going on from Jan. 13 – April 13, 2016.
This is a time when all mining projects at the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area can be removed forever. Call Senator Amy Klobuchar at (612)727-5220 or Senator Al Franken at (651)221-1016 now and voice your opinion about sulfide mining, or come to the Eco-Club meeting Wednesday at 8:30-9:30 a.m. to sign the petition in S.3240.