Category Archives: News

Breaking: NMW joins mineral rights lawsuit

Read about NMW’s success in intervening on behalf of wilderness edge residents, business owners, sportsmen and women and others who depend on the Wilderness on the side of the government in the lawsuit Twin Metals served aiming to regain their mineral rights for sulfide-ore copper mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters. The leases were denied in late 2016.

“A federal judge has approved an environmental group’s request to intervene in a lawsuit over mineral rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine near Ely in northeastern Minnesota. Judge Susan Richard Nelson said in a ruling Tuesday that Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness meets the legal requirements for becoming a defendant in the lawsuit.” – Associated Press report on MPR News

“A Minnesota environmental group will be allowed to intervene in a federal lawsuit filed by Twin Metals last year against the federal government. A federal judge Tuesday ruled that Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness to join the Interior Department in battling against the lawsuit, filed by Twin Metals last September.” – Duluth News Tribune

ACT NOW: Comment Period

Action Button3Several amazing announcements at the end of last year and the beginning of this year mean big news for the Boundary Waters – specifically, Twin Metals’ request to renew its mineral leases was denied, and a watershed-wide environmental review was initiated. We’re proud of the work of our Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and the great strides we’ve taken to protect the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and we know we couldn’t have done it without you or our Campaign partners. You need to know, however, that even though one mining company lost its leases, the fight to protect the Boundary Waters is not over.

More work is ahead for us and for you. There will be critical moments when we will need you to comment on behalf of the Boundary Waters. It is very important that you take action at each opportunity. Right now is one of those times — comment here!

Read more on the Campaign’s Science Desk blog: Big News! But What Does it Mean for the BWCA?

Latest News:
MPR: How Ely has navigated environmental, economic concerns (January 23, 2017)
St. Cloud Times: Voice your support for BWCA (January 21, 2017)
Timberjay: USFS, BLM take steps to enact 20-year mineral leases prohibition (January 19, 2017)
Duluth News Tribune: Forest Service files two-year timeout on mining (January 13, 2017)


BREAKING NEWS: Twin Metals leases denied. Watershed environmental review to come.

On Thursday, December 15, 2016, federal agencies announced that Twin Metals mineral leases were denied and that an environmental review of the Boundary Waters watershed would commence. The Bureau of Land Management stated in its release, “Citing broad concerns from thousands of public comments and input about potential impacts of mining on the wilderness area’s watershed, fish and wildlife, and the nearly $45 million recreation economy, the agencies today took actions that denied an application for renewal of two hard rock mineral leases in the area, as well as initiated steps to withdraw key portions of the watershed from new mineral permits and leases.”

We’re proud of our work, which led to these two decisions. But it couldn’t happen without the help of all of our dedicated supporters and our amazing partners. Read NMW Vice Chair/Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters National Campaign Chair Becky Rom’s statement below (read the full release from the Campaign here). Keep in mind, there’s more work to be done. Stay tuned for an announcement of a 90-day comment period to determine whether the watershed of the BWCA is the wrong place for sulfide-ore copper mining and should be removed from the federal mining program altogether. And act now to urge Minnesota’s senators to support permanent protection for this watershed.

“The Boundary Waters is a special place for Minnesotans who love hunting, fishing and recreation and who depend on thousands of jobs sustained by America’s most-popular wilderness. Science has clearly shown that copper mining would inflict devastating harm on this priceless wilderness. Today’s decision reflects strong support from a majority of Minnesotans who want to prioritize the wide-ranging value our communities gain from a healthy Boundary Waters, rather than open an industrial mining zone less than a mile from the wilderness edge. It’s a strong first step, but there is still a lot of work to do to ensure we can protect the BWCA for future generations. Our coalition keeps growing as sportsmen, veterans, businesses and other interests sign on to support our efforts.”
Becky Rom, National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.

In the News
Washington Post
The New York Times

Star Tribune

Outdoor News
Pioneer Press
Duluth News Tribune

Governor Dayton Voices Strong Opposition to Mining Near BWCA

daytonletterblogOn March 7, Governor Mark Dayton released a letter he sent to Twin Metals Minnesota, owned by international mining company Antofagasta, about the need to protect the Boundary Waters. The letter outlines his “grave concerns” about Twin Metals’ proposed massive sulfide-ore mining operation in the Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed.

“… my concern is for the inherent risks associated with any mining operation in close proximity to the BWCAW,” says Governor Dayton. “… I have an obligation to ensure [the Boundary Waters] is not diminished in any way. Its uniqueness and fragility require that we exercise special care when we evaluate significant land use changes in the area, and I am unwilling to take risks with that Minnesota environmental icon.”

In the letter, Dayton calls the Boundary Waters a “crown jewel in Minnesota and a national treasure.” The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters has been working tirelessly to help decision makers like Governor Dayton recognize that America’s most visited wilderness is not the place for what the EPA calls the most toxic industry in America and take action to ensure its protection for future generations.

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a national treasure. It is too special to put at risk,” said Becky Rom, National Campaign Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, in response to the Governor’s letter. “This is a clear signal that the lands near the Boundary Waters Wilderness should be off limits to sulfide-ore mining. I’d like to thank the Governor for his strong leadership on this issue.”

The Governor has also reached out to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). “I apprised the Director of my strong opposition to mining in close proximity to the BWCAW,” he says in his letter. “I was informed that the BLM is in the process of making a determination pertaining to the renewal of Twin Metals’ federal lease holdings. I believe that the BLM decision will offer further guidance on the future of mining in the area.”

Let’s thank Governor Dayton for his leadership and urge him to do everything in his powers to support permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed.

“PolyMet discharge would flow north to BWCA” – Timberjay

A recent Timberjay story shared the latest news on water flow for the PolyMet mine project, stating: “Fundamental miscalculations in water model render EIS results invalid.” Read the Timberjay story for more details.

GLIFWC’s analysis raises serious concerns about whether the co-lead agencies fully understand PolyMet’s potential for environmental impact, especially its potential to threaten the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. NMW supports GLIFWC’s request to the co-lead agencies that the groundwater model problems be addressed and that they undertake the analysis necessary to accurately assess the direction that contaminants will flow.

Paddle to DC send off Event Sunday, August 24th

Paddle with the Freemans for the first mile of their 2,000 mile journey by water to Washington DC. Sign the petition canoe and support their efforts to protect the Boundary Waters from sulfide ore mining.

Where: Voyageur Outward Bound School (Kawishiwi River)
When: August 24th Noon to 2:00 PM
What: Canoe floatilla on the Kawishiwi River

The canoe floatilla will leave VOBS at 1 PM and escort the Freemans down the Kawishiwi River for 1.5 miles to the boat landing at the Highway 1 bridge. Canoes, life jackets, paddles and a shuttle back to your vehicle will be provided. Feel free to arrive at noon to socialize and eat lunch at VOBS before the paddle. Families are welcome. Come join us for a fun afternoon on the water!Please RSVP so that we know how many canoes are needed by calling or emailing Sustainable Ely 218-365-7808, .

Wilderness Supporters gathered together during our 2013 floatilla on the Kawishiwi River.

Wilderness Supporters gathered together during our 2013 floatilla on the Kawishiwi River.


Mike Clark speaks at the 2014 Sigurd Olson Lecture Series in Ely

Mike Clark, former executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, presented “Yellowstone is More Valuable than Gold: Lessons from the New World Mine Battle” at VCC recently. His talk was recorded so that people who were not able to attend the lecture can watch it.

Video by .

Sustainble Ely Internship

Job Title: Sustainable Ely Education Center Intern
Location: Ely, Minnesota
Dates: May 15, 2014 – September 1, 2014 (Dates may be adjusted by mutual agreement)
Benefits: Housing is provided for the duration of the internship and the intern will receive a $125/week stipend.
Supervised By: Project Coordinator
Description: Sustainable Ely is an educational and advocacy effort of Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW). The Education Center Internship is an opportunity to live in Ely, Minnesota at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and help protect this unique resource from the damage of proposed sulfide mining in the region. The Intern/s will live on-site and work with the project coordinator to educate the public, work with volunteers and maintain the educational displays of the center.

Activities and Tasks:                                                                                                                              This is a new and exciting project entering its second year. As such, tasks may evolve throughout the duration of the internship based on needs and the skills of the intern/s.
• Be a consistent presence at the Center by living on site
• Work closely with the project coordinator and volunteers to provide outstanding customer service, educational
information and advocacy support
• Work directly with the public to support direct action concerning sulfide mining
• Interact with the public in a welcoming and positive way
• Help maintain Center through basic housekeeping functions and reporting maintenance issues
• Track the number of visitors and the number of advocacy actions taken
• Help with special events as needed throughout the internship.
• Communicate any serious problems or concerns to the project coordinator
• Be on-call to cover volunteer shifts as needed.
• Document policies and procedures for sustainable operations !

Required Skills or Qualities:
• A college degree, be enrolled as a student or relevant experience in environmental issues or sustainable rural
• A general understanding of sulfide mining and its possible impacts
• A commitment to a sustainable and healthy Ely area
• Ability to work independently and interact positively with board members, staff, volunteers, visitors and area
• Ability to manage multiple responsibilities in a fast-paced and changing environment
• High level of comfort with computers and a variety of software and applications
• Ability to manage multiple social media accounts and engage followers
• Experience creating and editing video preferred
• Willingness to adapt to changing environment !

Position Requirements
• Available from May 15, 2014– September 1, 2013
• Available to work at least 40 hours/week
• Hours will vary and include evenings and weekends
• Housing is contingent upon following housing agreement and expectations
• Ability to clean exhibit space and do light maintenance as necessary
• Must have a professional presence and meet guidelines for work attire
• Training will be provided
To Apply: Please submit a resume and cover letter to

Sustainable Ely Volunteers