America’s wilderness is for sale

America’s wilderness is for sale


This water is so clean, you can drink it. I’ve been drinking out of this river for
probably fifty years. What does it taste like? Tastes like water. That’s because the
water here comes from one of the most protected places in the United States. You can’t get here with a car. You can’t use a boat with a motor. We couldn’t even fly our drone past this point. These are the Boundary Waters of
northern Minnesota’s Superior National Forest. Thousands of pristine lakes like this one. Hundreds of thousands of people come
to see it every year. You listen to the sounds of the rapids. You watch the eagle fly overhead. You paddle on still waters. Be on your own. But there’s one problem. The Boundary Waters is just outside one of the largest untapped sources of copper in the world. Under the previous administration, America’s rich natural resources, of which your state has a lot, were put under lock and key. Since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration
has opened up more than 13 million acres of public land for drilling and mining, that’s more than any previous administration, including a part of Superior National Forest, right outside the Boundary Waters. Copper, the mineral underneath the forest, is the wiring in our phones, the pipes in our walls. And we also need it for electric car batteries, and solar panels, and wind turbines. We need copper, and there aren’t that many places in the world to get it. All this has renewed a really old and complicated question: when is it worth
risking the life above ground for the riches underneath? The US has more than 600 million acres
of national parks, monuments, forests and wilderness areas. They are the brainchild of President Theodore Roosevelt. He worried that the reckless speed logging,
blast rock mining, and oil drilling that fueled the Industrial Revolution could
ruin the country’s beauty and resources for future generations. So he created 150
national forests and parks, 18 national monuments, and 51 bird sanctuaries. I mean, get
up on a high mountain somewhere and remember that somebody saved that so
that you could have that experience and that’s a kind of remarkable legacy. We call them drinking water lakes, because you can dip your cup right out the side
of your canoe and drink straight from the lakes without even treating them or
anything. Jason owns a business that outfits
visitors for canoe trips in the Boundary Waters. They come here because
what we have is so special and it’s so unique you just can’t you can’t have
this sort of an experience anyplace else in the world. To have, you know, a million
acres totally undeveloped. The recreation and tourism industry here is big. it brings in about $77 million a year. The problem is, that’s not
enough to support the entire region. Seasonal recreation workers typically
make about twenty-five thousand dollars a year. That’s less than the state’s
average income. You’re not going to be able to raise a family on $25,000 a year. You’re not even going to be able to buy a house. And this part of the state used to have a different core industry: iron mining. We’ve been mining up in this area for well over a hundred years, and so it has a big significance. There are lot of second, third, fourth, generation miners that have always worked in the mine or their family has worked in the
mine. The company that plans to build the mine near the Boundary Waters, Twin
Metals, has said they’ll pay about $90,000 a year, which is well over the state’s average income. But copper mining is also risky in ways that
iron mining wasn’t. For the last two years, the Twin Metals company has been collecting samples of the rock that they plan to mine near the Boundary Waters. This is a typical core sample, these little blocks that you’re seeing in here
really establish how deep we are below ground surface. Once we hit this, 755 feet, this is where we start seeing the minerals. The copper is locked inside this shiny part here. To get it out, you have to crush up
the rock to a powder-like consistency copper only makes up about 1% of the
sample, which means 99% of it is waste. The crushed up rock is submerged in a
solution that floats the copper to the top. It’s eventually what becomes wires,
pipes, and everything else. And the waste rock sinks. That’s the risky part. It contains toxic elements like arsenic, lead, and mercury, which were previously
trapped inside the rock. And usually, when mining companies produce toxic waste, they store it in giant pits, like these. But those pits don’t always hold up. It may be the worst environmental disaster in British Columbia’s history. 3 million gallon toxic stew of heavy metals poured downstream. Devastation as far as the eye can see. and the question that everyone here is
just stunned by is how this could ever have been allowed to happen. And even when there isn’t one of these huge, catastrophic spills, abandoned mines leak millions of gallons of waste into streams. These colors indicate
heavy metal contamination that poisons aquatic life and taints drinking water. A lot of the economy that this region was based on was getting gold and silver out of
these hills and it left of a legacy of pollution. The cleanup costs taxpayers
millions of dollars long after mining companies take their profits and leave. Twin metals plans to store the waste from its mine right here: next to a river
that ultimately leads to the Boundary Waters. And instead of storing wastewater
in a pit, their plan is to dry out the waste and store it in stacks like these. On its website, Twin Metals calls the dry stack method “environmentally friendly,” but to support that, they point to another dry stack mine in Alaska, where the verdict isn’t actually that clear. The Alaska mining company’s own data
show that lead contaminated dust is blowing off the dry stacks, and they’ve
acknowledged that it could be getting into the water. And in aquatic life near
the mine, scientists found elevated levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury. Just like the Alaska mine, the Twin Metals mine would be surrounded by
interconnected waterways. Any pollution would spread far beyond the initial impact site. All this is why, in 2016, the Obama
administration decided the risks of copper mining here would be “unacceptable,”
and said that Twin Metals couldn’t do it. But two years later, the Trump
administration reversed that decision. Tonight I’m proudly announcing that we
will soon be taking the first steps to rescind the federal withdrawal in
Superior National Forest and restore mineral exploration for our amazing
people and miners and workers. In the 1980s, the iron mines of northeastern Minnesota started to close. These days unemployment there has gone as high as 90%. Of the 15,000 union men and women who work the Iron Range mines, more than 3,000 are laid off
and hundreds more jobs are in jeopardy. A full-scale depression forcing thousands
of miners to abandon the area. When the layoffs happened in the mine, we were all hit. Everyone was hit, day care was hit, the hairdresser was hit, the
grocery store was hit, not just the people that were laid off. That’s because mining jobs tend to not stick around. I actually worked in several different
states in the mining industry. And one of the things I noticed, when I go back to
the places where I worked 20 years ago, none of those communities are thriving. You don’t build long-term prosperity on a mining industry. Industry and
conservation have always fought over the best use of our public lands, and the
people closest to those lands often have differing visions for their own future. This proposed mine really puts the sustainable wilderness-edge economy, that we have going right now, at risk. And it definitely puts businesses like mine at risk. Jobs are scarce up here. Good jobs, I should say. Ones with benefits, where you
can raise a family, put money aside for your retirement. So this is a very good hope for us. For our towns, our families, our kids. In a speech in
1908, Teddy Roosevelt took stock of America’s industrial progress. “We have
become great in a material sense because of the lavish use of our resources,” he said. “But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our
forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted.” More than a hundred years later, many of the most impressive human inventions, including those that could ultimately eliminate the need for fossil fuels, still depend on resources like copper. Resources that will run out someday. The question isn’t really whether to let companies mine for copper near the Boundary Waters. It’s whether the short-term gains are
worth changing places like this forever.

100 Comments

  1. We have the same bs in Canada

    the Add says

    "Vacant Land for Sale "

    ever know it should Read if your a ashole come Destroy What is Good and Trash it

  2. From the ex-miners account it seems like this is just to give maybe one to two generations an alright job that will ruin the environment and potentially poison huge amounts of wildlife and people. Ignoring the environmental impacts this just sounds like industry creating a mess that outstrips the profits of mining. It would be likely cheaper to pay everyone that lives there the 90k a year and avoid paying trillions in clean up or just pay them to relocate.

  3. Very well done! I salute all who put this together! Copper mining will without a doubt polute this prestine environment. The issue is how much will it polute and the long term environmental and financial cost. For short term profit sake, build the mine. For long term environmental sake, don't.

    To balance the economic needs of the local people the mining operation has a huge task, extract the copper and don't pollute. Unfortunately necessary environmental protection processes cost money, to degree they may result in unprofitability. A 99% waste product comprised of severely dangerous poisons, makes the argument to proceed very suspect. The environment will pay for this mine.

  4. This is like your housemate coming into your room and smashing up your electronics to sell the metals. Yeah he ruined all your things but who are you to get in the way of him making a living?

  5. Well if it's not US it's someone else that will make the money..it's best to make money early then diverse or look for alternative ways of energy or recourse.The extraction funds helps fund in evolution and education, does the collateral.. earlier better then later

  6. boundary waters is 1 million acres, and only a few lakes are safe enough to drink straight out of. Everyone who goes into the bwca uses a filtration device to drink the lake water. Giardiasis isn't worth the risk

  7. Glad to see wilderness is becoming a greater concern. There is much at risk and much to love. Wilderness Podcast explores many relevant topics. Please search on "Wilderness Podcast" in your podcasting app.

  8. There are trillions of tons of minerals in the asteroid belt MAKE THE INFRASTRUCTURES needed to make it cheap.
    Trump IS sooo shortsited.

  9. This is going to be necessary if we want to move to a carbon free economy. Everyone will need an electric car, solar panels, wind generation. They all require copper. We either get it here at home or we go and get it in some far off land causing wars and destruction of their environment. There’s no other way. Bernie Sanders would open it up to I promise you that. It’s for our future.

  10. This is one of the reasons why progress in space exploration is critical. So we can mine copper and other materials from asteroids and keep our planet cleaner for future generations. Not to mention there is an unlimited amount of supply of these materials in space for any private company to get rich off of. A win-win!

  11. 🤣🤣imagine thinking bolstering American industry is a bad thing. People need to work, and outsourcing needs to be stopped if the American standard of living is to persist. With that being said, I am an advocate of environmental conservation, so long as it doesn't unreasonably intervene with the natural processes of mankind. But unlike this video suggests, heavy regulation regarding the industrial production of these sensitive environmental areas has been made paramount by the current administration.

  12. If you disagree with selling the land – throw away all your electronic devices that use copper, only then will I believe your stance. Not so easy… is it? We need copper. And while it may be disappointing that we have to remove some of our forests, the needs of technology are far more important

  13. Heaven and earth will pass away Jesus said but my Words will never pass away. We are to be good stewards of all creation as well.

  14. These people probably shouldn’t even be living in this area. There’s no jobs because there’s no demand. We need to actually use the cities we’ve got instead of sprawl, sprawl, sprawl.

  15. yeah make those poor black kids give us their copper! we want to keep our lakes pretty so an old man can drink it in a canoe!

  16. Hey, what if we just didn't make people destroy their environment in exchange for having a place to live. What if, like, we just gave them houses?

  17. To that very last question, maybe ask the people that live there. Don't ask people living a thousand miles away who have no stake in the area. They will ALL say save the region. So ask the folk who live out their lives there. Only they can decide what is most important.

  18. It will never be enough. Why can’t we just leave something good be? This makes me sick thinking about people need to snap out of it and realize that we are killing ourselves and the only good things we have left.

  19. I'm not American but I've read alot about the national parks there and I always thought it was a truly standout thing America has

  20. It's amazing that not that long ago people could drink from any river more or less and now a drinkable river is an amazing rarity!

  21. I used to camp in the boundary waters. I bet you could have done some before and after shots like what Alberta looked like before tar sands mining. Or what mountaintop removal mining looks like after the profits have been extracted and off shored.

  22. Wow. Why don't we know about how great Roosevelt was??? He preserved America. While current presidents are destroying his legacy

  23. "When all the trees are replanted, and the coal put back, will we realize that our wealth is what allowed us to survive."
    -Don't know, might have just made it up.

  24. If that Lake Superior tributory pollute, whole Great Lakes will be polluted. Lake Erie already started to be polluted… Nobody eats fish from Lake Ontario

  25. Destroying these places is the biggest crime…. no justification, no matter how hard anyone tries….
    Supporting this is madness, especially when the locals do it. Disgusting.

  26. The woman with the glasses… should drink some contaminated water. I would be very happy to see the change in his support for mining. Very, very happy.

  27. Does everyone realize that there are hundreds and hundreds of copper mines all over the earth. This isnt Trumps fault, yall just want someone to villify. Copper mines opened under nearly every presidents watch. Vox does a good job at making it sound like the world is going to end.

  28. We want electric cars, wind power and better technology. Environmentalists don't want us to go get the copper to get the job done. So I guess they want us to just walk around without jobs or life improving technology. We can mine copper responsibly. THAT is the answer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*