This article is not so much about fishing but about mining activity, the outcome will have a major impact on fishing for generations to come.
Six hundred-plus miles from Evanston lie 1.1 million acres of untouched, unspoiled natural wilderness known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This pristine area has been protected for generations so all could nature untouched by machines and pollutants – until now.
Earlier this month the current administration cancelled the last remaining block that would prohibit any commercial mining company from being able to lease land adjoining the Boundary waters.
The administration first reduced the requirement for an environmental impact study to a much less intense environmental assessment and promised nothing would move forward until the assessment was complete and reviewed by the public and Congress.
That now has been cancelled, thus allowing the Chilean mining giant Twin Metals to begin applying for leases.
The major problem with this is that sulfide-ore copper mining is the most polluting mining operation in the world. The process produces giant piles of waste material that, when exposed to air and water, leach sulfuric acid, heavy metals and sulfides into groundwater, rivers and lakes.
In the history of sulfide mining, pollution has never been avoided. It has created more Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites than any other activity. A single mine in this wilderness will continue to pollute the waters for 500 years.
It is almost an understatement to say these pollutants will have a huge impact on the entire BWCA wilderness. They will completely alter the plant life essential to fish for food and cover; they will affect the life span of the entire fish population. Starting with minnows and going up, ultimately walleyes, northern pike and muskies will be lost. What we are talking about is the effect of just one mine. These conglomerate mining groups are planning as many as 15 mines in the area.
If you haven’t been to this beautiful area of our country, you have truly missed something very special. I recommend you plan a trip soon before this pristine natural area is too polluted to enjoy.
In the meantime consider dropping a note to Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth and our own Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, all of whom support saving the wilderness.
It would be nice to have a few people who don’t live in the “Great White North” chime in with support.
Thank you for letting me rant here.
Until next time… keep a tight line.