U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan has asked the federal government to reverse an Obama administration decision to block minerals exploration and mining in more than 234,000 acres of the Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
The Minnesota Democrat on Tuesday released a letter he sent to an acting undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nolan wrote that the decision should trigger the Trump administration's regulatory freeze.
The plan jeopardizes the proposed Twin Metals mine and potentially other projects.
Nolan drew a sharp response Wednesday from a fellow Minnesota Democrat, Rep. Betty McCollum, who accused him of a misguided assault on a national treasure that needs protection from pollution. She says it's "disturbing" that Nolan would trust the Trump administration to make its decision using science and facts.
Nolan points out that he's an original co-sponsor of the 1970s legislation creating the BWCA as a wilderness area, and says he is committed to protecting the environment.