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Letter: Time is now to stand up for clean water

Last time I was in the Boundary Waters, I scooped water from the lake directly into my water bottle and drank it. Minnesota’s Boundary Waters is one of the last places in the entire country where you can do this. Truly pristine water is becoming a scarcity, which is one of the reasons why people travel from across the country to experience the purity of America’s most visited Wilderness Area.

Unfortunately, the clean water legacy of the Boundary Waters is being threatened by an international mining company that wants to build a toxic sulfide-ore copper mine directly adjacent to the Wilderness. They have never experienced the wonder of looking down into the lakes and rivers of Boundary Waters and clearly seen a bubbling world beneath the surface. As Minnesotans who fish, swim, and spend time with our families in this special place, it is our responsibility to protect it.

Sulfide copper-ore mining is considered the riskiest type of mining, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed it the most toxic industry in the United States. The proposed Twin Metals mine would release toxic metals and other contaminants that would flow downstream into the Wilderness, permanently contaminating the untouched beauty of the Wilderness and harming the wildlife that calls it home.

If we want to save the clean waters of Boundary Waters Wilderness and the wildlife within it, we must act now. This natural wonder deserves to be permanently protected and we must elect leaders who will put the Boundary Waters and Minnesotans above the profits of foreign polluters.

John Sand

Austin, MN