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United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Oppose H.R. 3905, an Attack on Environmental Safeguards for the Boundary Waters
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national priorities. Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.
LCV urges you to vote NO on H.R. 3905, the Minnesota’s Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act, which would allow mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and undermine key environmental protections for the Boundary Waters, Voyageurs National Park, and the Superior and Chippewa National Forests. Among many harmful provisions, H.R. 3905 would waive normal environmental review and public input under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and grant two federal mineral leases that were denied by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, and this legislation would add barriers to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act in Minnesota’s national forests.
H.R. 3905 would allow for sulfide-ore mining, one of the most toxic industries in the United States, at the edge of one of our most accessible and most visited wilderness areas, which would ultimately threaten the lands and waters and their recreational benefits. This bill would also prevent the federal government from limiting mining in Minnesota’s national forests without explicit Congressional approval. A recent economic analysis showed that mining in the Superior National Forest lands in the Boundary Waters watershed could drastically harm economies in northern Minnesota, threatening thousands of jobs, over $1.5 billion in annual income, and hundreds of millions of dollars in private property values.
Additionally, by adding barriers to protecting national forests in Minnesota as national monuments, this bill is an attack on the Antiquities Act and against our cherished national parks and monuments. For over 100 years, the Antiquities Act has protected incredible public lands and waters throughout the country and has provided the initial protections for many of our national parks, including the Grand Canyon and Acadia National Parks. Putting additional hurdles to national monument designations specifically in Minnesota undermines the law and limits future presidents from protecting Minnesota’s national forests.
We urge you to REJECT H.R. 3905. We will strongly consider including the vote on this bill in the 2017 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.