House passes Emmer-Nolan amendment to halt mining ban in Superior National Forest

The U.S. House Thursday approved a bipartisan amendment by U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Rick Nolan to halt the withdrawal of 234,328 acres of the Superior National Forest from all mining activities.
The amendment, which will become part of the omnibus FY 2018 federal spending package, specifically “prohibits funding from being used to implement a January 13, 2017 effort by the U.S. Department of Interior and Agriculture to restrict all leasing, exploration and potential development of approximately 234,328 acres of federal land in Northeast Minnesota.”
Following passage of the amendment, Nolan released the following statement:
“I was proud to help lead the way to passage of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Wilderness Act back in 1978. None of us who live in northern Minnesota and love the great outdoors would ever support mining in the Boundary Waters.
This amendment upholds the legislative intent and history surrounding the several laws establishing the BWCA, including the 1978 Act. Under those laws, mining, forestry and most commercial activities were explicitly prohibited in the BWCA - which is nearly one third (1.1 million acres) of the Superior National Forest (SNF).
The law and legislative history also made it clear that mining, forestry and other multiple use activities were explicitly to be allowed in the remaining two million acres of the SNF. In fact, the US Forest Service cited mining as a “desired condition,” provided that mining would move forward only when a proposed project passes our rigorous federal and state environmental rules, regulations and requirements.
Moreover, this amendment upholds the integrity of the environmental review process – so that only real and specific mining projects are reviewed. And so that the already scarce resources of the U.S. Forest Service are not squandered on studies into hypothetical situations and projects that may or may not ever take place.”