Water issues

Mining issues

Superior National Forest Hardrock Prospecting EIS scoping

The U.S. Forest Service conducted an environmental impact statement for hardrock prospecting in the Superior National Forest (SNF), which occupies much of the northeastern part of the state.  This EIS pertaining to prospecting permits is meant to harmonize and streamline the U.S. Bureau of Land Management permitting process.  They sent out a notice letter on April 1, 2009 to forest users suggesting a 45-day time limit on comments. WaterLegacy recently learned from the SNF staff that scoping comments will still be considered.  A public comment period is expected in 2012 on the draft EIS.

You can read the scoping comments submitted by WaterLegacy

Similar concerns were expressed by Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), who says

"The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are considering opening the forest to hardrock mineral exploration on federal lands for which the Forest Service holds the surface rights and the Bureau of Land Management holds the mineral rights.

"The need for a full environmental review became obvious to MCEA when applications for hardrock mineral exploration were submitted within two miles of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the U.S. Forest Service indicated that large areas of the Superior Forest , including land bordering Voyageurs National Park, could be open to mineral exploration and mining.

"The Forest Service asked for comments on the scoping document, which sets the boundaries on what the environmental impact statement will study and MCEA turned in extensive comments on the scoping document in May.  The comments focus on both mineral exploration and potential mines which could result from the deposits found through the exploratory process. MCEA is waiting to see what is included in the final scoping document. The Forest Service has said the draft environmental impact statement will be completed sometime in 2010."

You can read the full comments from MCEA.  

 PolyMet mine would destroy important natural area     Posted: 02 Jun 2009 03:11 PM PDT by Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

      "The Friends has recently discovered that the site for PolyMet Mining Corp.’s NorthMet sulfide mining project was identified as special habitat worthy of protection in several assessments performed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources during the late 1990s.

      "Despite this, PolyMet and the Forest Service are proceeding with plans to transfer the land out of public ownership so that the mine can proceed, which would irreparably harm the land’s ecological value.

      "A history of the research and analysis process shows that the site passed multiple levels of evaluation and was deemed by agency scientists worthy of protection because it represents some of the highest-quality habitat left in the landscape.

     " PolyMet’s mine would destroy approximately 2,000 acres of this natural area."

 — For more information, visit Friends of the Boundary Waters website mining page.

The status of U.S. water quality

RECENT BROADCAST:  Tuesday, April 21, 2009   A PBS TV episode on water entitled "Poisoned Waters" reveals the magnitude of affects from the cumulative pollution of our nation’s waterways.  It discusses specifically the conditions of the Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay waterways on the U.S. east coast.

Minnesota is considering initiating sulfide mining, known to generate sulfuric acid mine drainage, carrying metallic toxins lethal to aquatic life.  Located at the 3-way contintal divide, Minnesota is the headwaters state for the entire continent; here, such a serious threat to the freshwater resource has no place.  And we have an opportunity to prevent damage from a copper-nickel mining industry before it starts.

The many mysteries of water   Science plumbs the depths of water’s unique physical properties.

No liquid behaves quite as oddly as water. It exhibits a raft of unusual behaviours, many of which are essential for life as we know it. We list water’s peculiarities below.  In The strangest liquid, NewScientist takes a look at how a controversial new theory could finally explain water’s weird behaviour. Here we explain how the theory could explain 10 of water’s behaviours – and then take a quick look at its many other peculiarities.

Stunning images of

water in motion by Shinichi Maruyam