Friends of the Boundary Waters Fall 2013 Newsletter

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Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Fall 2013 Newsletter, includes feature on Daniel Alvarez.


<ul><li><p>FA L L 2 0 1 3 V O L UME 3 5 I S S U E 3</p><p>The Friends mission is to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior Ecosystem. The organization was founded in 1976.</p><p>Masthead photo: Printed on paper using 100% post-consumer waste, processed chlorine free.</p><p>By Aaron Klemz, Communications and Engagement Director</p><p>Nearly four years after the last failed attemptto put forward a mine plan for the PolyMetmine, Minnesotans will get their chance toweigh in on the latest version of PolyMetsproposed mine plan this winter.Everybody who cares about Minnesotas</p><p>waters, woods and wilderness needs to getinvolved. Technically, this process is calledthe public comment period for the Poly-Met supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement. More to the point, thisis the best chance to have your say on PolyMet. This is a crucial moment, thetime for the public to tell regulators andpolitical leaders what they think aboutPolyMets plan.Starting December 9th, you can tell the Department of Natural </p><p>Resources (DNR) your opinion of the PolyMet proposal. Your feedback will be considered as they make decisions about whetherPolyMet should receive permits to open their proposed mine. Wereproviding an easy way to tell the DNR what you thinkjust go to:</p><p>Why is this so important to the Boundary Waters?Media coverage of what PolyMet is proposing has been damning.</p><p>A Star Tribune headline read Iron Range mine could pollute water for500 years. The Duluth News Tribune stated PolyMet study: Waterfrom mine site would need 500 years of treatment. Its a no brainer:500 years of polluted water in exchange for 20 years of mining is a baddeal for Minnesota.Even more worrisome, PolyMets mine proposal is like a snowplow</p><p>clearing the way for other mine proposals lined up behind it, includingmines right up to the edge of the Boundary Waters. Since sulfide mining</p><p>has never been done before in Minnesota,the decisions we make about the PolyMetmine proposal will have ramifications forevery mine proposal that follows. If PolyMetsucceeds in convincing regulators, politi-cians and the public that it is okay to tradefive hundred years of pollution for twentyyears of mining, we will set a precedent thatour great-great-great-great-great-grandchil-dren will pay for.We cant let that happen, and thats why</p><p>its imperative that regulators and politicianshear from thousands of people that perpet-ual sulfide mining pollution is unacceptable.</p><p>What can I do?The Friends of the Boundary Waters is</p><p>leading the charge. But this is crunch time,and we need your help to mobilize a tremendous response. Weve beenplanning for this moment for years, and heres how were going to en-sure that your voice is heard loud and clear:Well make it easy to have your say: Just go to,</p><p>where we are gathering comments with our partners Conservation Min-nesota and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. Youcan personalize your message to regulators or you can borrow somelanguage from us. You can also share your comments over social mediato encourage others to add their voice.Were planning informational gatherings all over the state: We</p><p>know that it can be hard to know exactly what to say. Thats why were creating a lineup of public events where youll meet people who are deeply involved in analyzing the PolyMet project, gain access to resources, and connect with other citizens who want to make their voices heard. Check for an up-to-date list.Weve got the experts covered: Our staff is working with experts </p><p>Now is the time for action on PolyMet</p><p>Now is the time continued on page 7.</p></li><li><p>02 </p><p>Message from the Executive DirectorBy Ian Kimmer, Northern Communities Program Director</p><p>We are now in one of the most important moments in our work to pro-tect the Boundary Waters and the Quetico/Superior ecosystem - thepublic comment periods for the PolyMet mine and the Twin Metalsmineral leases. Along with our long-term work to increase awarenessand engagement for conservation in northern Minnesota, this has in-creased the need for intense activity in our northern communities work.With effective leadership, exciting dynamics, new partnerships, creativeinitiatives, and professional collaboration, we are blazing a trail towardthe best future of this beloved region - one that values completely thesingular natural assets with which we are blessed. Our northern communities work was featured in Bloombergcolumnist Adam Minters book Junkyard Planet and, by association, in The Atlanticmagazine, on National Public RadiosFresh Air and Minnesota Public Radios Daily Circuit.Minters book looks at the global recycling trade and compares itto the impact of mining. He concludes that the dirtiest recycling operation is better than the cleanest mine, and uses a tour of exploration sites near the Boundary Waters to make his case.</p><p> Friends hosted a showing of the documentary film Gold Feverin Duluth with the filmmaker JT Haines, filling the theater andenergizing over a hundred advocates.</p><p> November 1, in partnership with MPIRG of University of Min-nesota Morris, we led an event engaging the student body in acanvassing initiative on sulfide mining and protecting the BWCA.</p><p> We co-hosted Bill Carters appearance at University of the Min-nesota - Duluth with many other conservation groups bringing the Boom, Bust, Boommessage to a wide-spectrum audience.</p><p> Ian presented to the third grade of Pike Lake Elementary on the wonder of the BWCA and the need to protect beautiful, wildplaces ending with cheers and great excitement (read some letters from the class on page 5).</p><p> The release of the album Industry.Peace.Environment. Oneproduced by The Arrowhead Story, along with the CD releaseevent Clean Water in Duluth in September, generated a lot ofmedia coverage. This included a feature story in the DuluthReader, an hour interview on KUWS radio, an appearance onKUMDs Green Visions and a big social media presence.</p><p> We are working with photographer Benjamin Olson and the For-est Service to craft and facilitate a multi-year photographic study of the flora and fauna changes in the wilderness due to natural andhuman-based impacts. This study was developed with Dr. Lee Frelich of the University of Minnesota.</p><p> Attended the Heart of the Continent Partnership meeting on theGunflint Trail in October, a collaborative group including thepublic land managers from Superior National Forest and QueticoProvincial Park.</p><p> Regular meetings with local, state and federal elected officials andstaff are leading to very important, quality relationships with key decision makers. </p><p> Ian will conduct a forum at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Duluth on December 15 engaging the congregation and theirnetworks for the public comment periods on sulfide mining.</p><p> Ian will present to the UMD Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership program, a hotbed of political leadership, </p><p>Northern Communities Update</p><p>It is a story that has played out allover the world and in our owncountry many times. This storystarts with promises of economicsalvation, jobs for all and side ef-fects for none. This time, the cop-per/nickel sulfide mining industryis attempting to come into ourbeloved Boundary Waters region.Many Minnesotans want to be-lieve we can have these proposedmines and the clean water neededfor thriving economies in our lakecountry at the same time. My father, born during World War I, was a cautious man by nature.</p><p>His dad was a miner who became a farmer, helping to feed their neigh-borhood during the Great Depression. My father, a celebrated prag-matist, used to tell me to watch out whenever you hear a promise thatsounds a little too good. That advice, along with some of his other say-ings, has served me well over the years.That is why I respond the way I do when people ask me why cant</p><p>we have both? Knowing what I know now, I say, Sorry, we just canthave it both ways. It has never happened and were fools to think it willwork like that here and now. The latest mine plan from PolyMet, thefirst sulfide mine proposed in the Quetico-Superior even says so, prom-ising 500 years of water pollution for 20 years of mining.Bill Carter, author of Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the</p><p>Metal That Runs the World, spoke at our recent Annual Member Gath-ering. He said this is all part of a common mining corporation game plan.Go in with wonderful sounding promises, spread them around to thepoliticians and to nearby communities, but keep the actual mine plan farfrom the light of day for as long as possible so it cant be criticized. Thenask for forgiveness when things go wrong later, saying none of this couldhave been predicted. It is no surprise that we see the same game planbeing employed here. But people, including some of our political leaders,are starting to ask the right questions, and starting to discuss the realityof this industry. They want to know why mining advocates cannot pointto a single prosperous community near a sulfide mine or find one exam-ple of a sulfide mine that has not polluted nearby waters.Its the forgiveness part that I am most concerned about. This is a</p><p>bad deal for Minnesota, not just those of us who love the BoundaryWaters Wilderness. We owe our children this: a clean and healthy swathof public lands surrounding the Boundary Waters Wilderness. That iswhy everything the Friends is doing today is designed to create the en-abling conditions for that to happen. Sulfide mining in waters flowinginto the BWCA is not inevitable. These firms are not invincible. Ourranks are growing as new and non-traditional allies partner up with us. Thank you for believing and working with us. Your continued sup-</p><p>port for the Friends work, including the largest ever November Giveto the Max Day fundraising event weve ever had, goes directly to keepthe interconnected lakes and streams of the Boundary Waters safe for-ever. And clean water is not just for canoeing, its for the moose, otters,loons and walleye with whom we share this Earth. Just like my fathersgood advice was passed down to me, this priceless resource that belongsto all of us can be handed down to our children. It will be very hard to find forgiveness if we fail to do all we can to protect it. </p><p>Executive Director Paul Danicic</p><p>Northern Communities continued on page 7.</p></li><li><p>Twin Metals Proposes Large-ScaleDrilling for Water Assessment </p><p>FRIENDS OF THE BOUNDARY WATERS WILDERNESS FALL 2013 03</p><p>By Betsy Daub, Policy Director</p><p>In preparation for its proposal for a massive mine next to theBoundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Twin Metals Minnesotahas proposed a large-scale field study of groundwater in the BirchLake/South Kawishiwi River area. The hydrogeological studyseeks to: document baseline groundwater quality; investigate the relationship between groundwater and surface water resources;prepare models to characterize existing groundwater conditions;and predict interactions among groundwater, surface water andwetlands. For this study, Twin Metals proposes drilling nearly 400wells. The lands are a mix of federal and state jurisdiction. Fordrilling on lands requiring Forest Service approval, Twin Metalshas applied for a Special Use Permit. The Forest Service willbe preparing an Environmental Assessment for these wells. Thepublic has an opportunity to provide feedback about key issues that should be evaluated in this process. The deadline for comments on this scoping phase ended November 21, 2013.The Friends gave feedback, and will let members know when theEnvironmental Assessment is completed and ready for publicinput. The State of Minnesota has no similar public process forthe wells it must authorize. Indeed, many have been approvedunder existing exploration leases the company already holds with the State. The Friends believes gaining a better understanding of the</p><p>complex hydrology of the area is important. Nevertheless, wecontinue to believe that a sulfide mine in this area, next to theBWCAW, is not appropriate and puts the area and the Wildernessat great risk of long-lasting pollution. We are also concerned thatthis project would drill nearly 400 wells in a region that has already experienced a tremendous amount of drilling, both historically and in recent years. We have urged the Forest Serviceto do a thorough analysis of the cumulative effects of additionaldrilling in this targeted area. </p><p>Twin Metals Renewing LeasesIn the complex mix of mineral interests held by Twin Metals</p><p>Minnesota near the BWCAW, about 5,000 acres (two mineralleases) must be renewed with the Bureau of Land Management(BLM). The BLM has indicated they will undertake an Environ-mental Assessment of the renewal, since when the mineral interests were originally obtained in 1966, no environmental review process was conducted. We expect that Environmental Assessment to be released in the next several weeks, but do notyet have a definitive date for it. When it is released, we will becommenting on the proposal, and be communicating with ourmembers and public at large about how to provide input.</p><p>Chairs Corner Pete FlemingThere are lots of things goingon now and energy in theFriends is high. Stopping min-ing in the Boundary Waters wa-tershed is an imperative, andthere is the immediate challengeof adding our comments intothe PolyMet draft mine plan tobe released on December 6.We're active and putting the financial resources you have gen-erously provided us to good use. If you missed Bill Carter at</p><p>the Annual Member Gathering, I encourage you to get a copyof his book "Boom, Bust, Boom" and give it a quick read. It willconfirm why the sulfide mining proposals for northern Min-nesota should be rejected. These mining proposals are realthreats and must be stopped. Again, your financial contributionis critical along with your response to calls to action, and com-municating with our political leaders. We need an outpouringof information and truth to block these destructive projects.</p><p>Let me be clear on a few things: Member financial contributions have been strong and are critical - thank you.</p><p> The Friends goal is no sulfide mining pollution in the Superior/Quetico ecosystem and no sulfide mining in the watershed of the BWCAW.</p><p> Please respond to any call to action, we need your help to send a clear message to regulators and political leaders.</p><p> Longer range plan to attend our 2014 Annual Gathering.Its a great chance to meet fellow members, board, and staff. </p><p>Please call me or the Friends office to discuss any issue and how you can get involved further. </p><p>Pete and Barb Fleming</p><p>Friends Wish List Vacuum cleaner for the officenew or gently used. Microwavenew or gently used. Cashboxes (2)new or used, with functioning keys. Portable digital projectorfor presentations and edu...</p></li></ul>


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