Trump administration tosses mining ban near Minnesota wilderness

Marcos Ojeda/Flickr

Despite past promises by the Trump administration to do otherwise, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has now lifted an Obama-era proposed 20-year ban on new mining claims near Minnesota’s critical Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness and canceled the environmental review of mining's potential impacts to the area. In May 2017, the head of the USDA Sonny Perdue publicly testified to Congress that he wasn’t “smart enough to know what to do without the facts base and the sound science” and was “absolutely allowing [the review] to proceed.” The majority of Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining in the area, which poses a significant threat to a system of lakes, rivers, tributaries, and wetlands that make up some of the country’s most pristine wilderness and fuel Minnesota’s tourism industry. Interestingly, one of the few lucky winners from the administration’s change of heart is none other than Andrónico Luksic, a billionaire owner of the Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta—who also happens to be the D.C. landlord of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

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