What we do
WaterLegacy addresses the human health and environmental impacts of open-pit sulfide mining through advocacy at the state and federal level, education and citizen engagement. We work to strengthen enforcement of regulations to protect water quality, to increase public participation and to support tribal authority that prevents pollution of tribal waters downstream of polluted discharge.
Our first critical focus is the proposal by PolyMet Mining Company to construct Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine. The PolyMet open-pit sulfide mine would be located on what is now high quality wetlands and public forest land in the Superior National Forest. Sulfide mine pollution threatens the St. Louis River watershed, which is a vital part of the Lake Superior Basin, and Boundary Waters watershed.
How We Work
- Provides detailed legal and technical advocacy to prevent sulfide mining pollution and destruction. Our strategy deliberately prevents the mining industry from undermining rules and enforcement that should protect clean water.
- Collaborates with the Fond du Lac and Grand Portage Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa who live, hunt, fish and gather plants downstream of the proposed sulfide mine. Though we maintain a close working relationship with the Bands, we respect that they are independent sovereign governments.
- Engages existing community leaders, including citizen scientists and local doctors, who have become some of our most important partners and experts.
- Works with other environmental groups in the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) and shares our work product to increase the capacity of other groups.
- Works with news outlets and social media channels to educate citizens across Minnesota about the dangers of sulfide mine pollution.