MINNESOTA'S ECONOMIC RIGHTS IN THE SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 194
(House of Representatives - November 29, 2017)

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[Pages H9498-H9512]
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    MINNESOTA'S ECONOMIC RIGHTS IN THE SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST ACT

  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 631, I call up 
the bill (H.R. 3905) to require congressional approval of any mineral 
withdrawal or monument designation involving the National Forest System 
lands in the State of Minnesota, to provide for the renewal of certain 
mineral leases in such lands, and for other purposes, and ask for its 
immediate consideration in the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 631, an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text of Rules 
Committee Print 115-41 is adopted, and the bill, as amended, is 
considered read.
  The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows:

                               H.R. 3905

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Minnesota's Economic Rights 
     in the Superior National Forest Act''.

     SEC. 2. CONDITION ON MINERAL WITHDRAWAL OF NATIONAL FOREST 
                   SYSTEM LANDS IN MINNESOTA.

       Minerals within the National Forest System lands in the 
     State of Minnesota shall not be subject to withdrawal from 
     disposition under United States mineral and geothermal 
     leasing law unless the withdrawal is specifically approved by 
     an Act of Congress enacted after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act.

     SEC. 3. CONDITION ON MONUMENT DESIGNATION ON NATIONAL FOREST 
                   SYSTEM LANDS IN MINNESOTA.

       Section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, is amended 
     by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(e) Limitation on Extension or Establishment of a 
     National Monument in Minnesota.--No extension or 
     establishment of national monuments on National Forest System 
     lands in the State of Minnesota may be undertaken except by 
     express authorization of Congress.''.

[[Page H9499]]

  


     SEC. 4. CLARIFYING THE NATURE OF MINERAL RIGHTS ON FOREST 
                   SYSTEM LANDS IN MINNESOTA.

       (a) Mineral Leases Issued Within Forest System Lands in 
     Minnesota.--
       (1) In general.--All mineral leases issued within the 
     exterior boundaries of National Forest System lands in the 
     State of Minnesota under the authority of the Act of June 30, 
     1950 (16 U.S.C. 508b), or section 402 of Reorganization Plan 
     No. 3 of 1946 (5 U.S.C. App.), are indeterminate preference 
     right leases that--
       (A) shall be issued for an initial 20-year period; and
       (B) as provided in paragraph (2), shall be renewable after 
     the period described in subparagraph (A) for 10-year renewal 
     periods.
       (2) Requirements for renewal.--A lease shall be renewed 
     under paragraph (1)(B)--
       (A) if the lessee has complied with the terms and 
     conditions of the lease during the preceding lease period; 
     and
       (B) on the condition that, at the end of each ten-year 
     renewal period, such reasonable readjustment of the terms and 
     conditions of the lease may be prescribed by the Secretary of 
     the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of 
     Agriculture, for the purpose of--
       (i) encouraging production; or
       (ii) addressing changing conditions within the lease area.
       (b) Suspension of Operations.--The Secretary of the 
     Interior may suspend operations under a lease described in 
     subsection (a) when--
       (1) the lease can only be operated at a loss due to market 
     conditions; or
       (2) operations are interrupted by strikes.
       (c) Permits for Use of Surface Lands.--With respect to 
     lands subject to a lease pursuant to subsection (a), the 
     Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary 
     of Agriculture, may issue permits for the use of surface 
     lands not included in the lease for purposes connected with, 
     and reasonably necessary to, the exploration, development, 
     and use of the deposits covered by the lease.
       (d) Applicability to Mineral Leases.--This section shall 
     apply with respect to all mineral leases described in 
     subsection (a), including--
       (1) leases that on the date of the enactment of this 
     section are not in effect; and
       (2) the hard rock mineral leases for the Superior National 
     Forest in Minnesota identified as MNES-01352 and MNES-01353.
       (e) Applicability of National Environmental Policy Act of 
     1969.--The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
     U.S.C. 4331 et seq.) shall apply with respect to a mineral 
     lease described in subsection (a). In the case of the renewal 
     of the existing hard rock mineral leases referred to in 
     subsection (d)(2), the Bureau of Land Management shall 
     complete the pending environmental assessment no later than 
     30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (f) Exclusion of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.--
     Nothing in this section may be construed as permitting the 
     prospecting for development and utilization of mineral 
     resources within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or 
     Mine Protection Area.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The bill, as amended, shall be debatable for 
1 hour, equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking 
minority member of the Committee on Natural Resources.
  After 1 hour of debate, it shall be in order to consider the further 
amendment printed in House Report 115-429, if offered by the Member 
designated in the report, which shall be considered read, shall be 
separately debatable for the time specified in the report, equally 
divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, and shall not 
be subject to a demand for a division of the question.
  The gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Gosar) and the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Lowenthal) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona.


                             General Leave

  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
to include extraneous material on H.R. 3905.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Arizona?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Colorado (Mr. Lamborn).
  Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Gosar for his leadership 
on this and other issues in the Congressional Western Caucus.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, mining in the Superior National Forest, where these 
leases are located, has previously been authorized by Congress on 
several occasions. First in 1950, and again in 1978.
  With that bill--the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act--
Congress established a compromise in which mining was prohibited within 
the 1.1 million acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, but 
specifically authorized in the Superior National Forest.
  Likewise, U.S. Forest Service plans for these areas have identified 
mining in these Superior Forest locations as a ``desired condition.''
  Despite this longstanding precedent, in December of 2016, the Obama 
administration abruptly canceled mining leases that have been held and 
renewed for decades in northern Minnesota. Then in January, the day 
before leaving office, President Obama signed off on a mineral 
withdrawal for an area spanning 425,000 acres, including 95,000 acres 
of State school trust fund lands.
  There is a torrent of misinformation surrounding this bill, with 
alarmist groups begging that we ``save the Boundary Waters.''
  Mr. Speaker, the Boundary Waters were saved in 1978. The low-impact 
mining arrangements that these mining leases entail do not endanger the 
Boundary Waters, which is itself protected by a significant buffer as 
well.
  The bill reiterates--redundantly, I will add, but in order to make it 
crystal clear--that mining is prohibited in the Boundary Waters and the 
surrounding buffer. To say otherwise is a blatant falsehood.
  A few other facts that you won't hear from alarmists but that deserve 
to be said: this bill retains the full protections enshrined across the 
array of environmental laws and regulations which apply to mine 
leasing, permitting, and operation. The most notable in this case are 
the National Environmental Policy Act--NEPA--and the Clean Water Act, 
which still apply, in full.
  But the fact is that this bill is not about removing environmental 
protections, as some may have said.
  Rather, what about when you don't actually remove any?
  Rather, what initiated this situation is an arbitrary overreach by 
the Obama administration at the last minute. It was looking to score 
political points on its way out the door by taking the near-
unprecedented action of initiating a full mineral withdrawal. That was 
undemocratic, and the huge support that this bill and mining in general 
enjoys in Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District, where the Superior 
Forest is located, is proof positive. But Article IV of the 
Constitution vests Congress with authority over public lands, and it is 
now up to us to act.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this chance to clear the air on some of the 
misconceptions and falsehoods that have been tarnishing this bill. It 
really is unfortunate that commonsense, local issues like this one are 
being dragged into a national partisan brawl. Nevertheless, I hope my 
colleagues are able to see through the deception, recognize the clear 
benefits of mining in Minnesota, and vote ``yes'' on this important 
bill.
  Finally, I would like to share some comments from the Associated 
General Contractors of Minnesota, who noted that ``H.R. 3905 changes no 
environmental review processes, relaxes no environmental standards, and 
specifically restates Congress' prohibition on any mining activity in 
the BWCAW and the surrounding protective buffer.''
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record their full letter.

                                    Associated General Contractors


                                                 of Minnesota,

                                                November 22, 2017.
       Dear Congressman Walz: On behalf of the Associated General 
     Contractors of Minnesota and our over 400 member firms, I am 
     writing to urge your support for H.R. 3905, the ``Minnesota's 
     Economic Rights (MINER) in the Superior National Forest 
     Act,'' bipartisan legislation sponsored by Cong. Tom Emmer 
     (MN-6th) and cosponsored by Cong. Collin Peterson (MN-7th), 
     Cong. Jason Lewis (MN-2nd) and Cong. Paul Gosar (AZ-4th). 
     H.R. 3905 is currently on the agenda of the House Rules 
     Committee, on a path for House floor action in the coming 
     weeks.
       In 1950, Congress took action to make land available for 
     mineral exploration and development within the Superior 
     National Forest (SNF) within the Iron Range region in 
     Northeast Minnesota. In 1978, Congress prohibited mining 
     within the region's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness 
     (BWCAW) and an adjacent protective buffer zone, while 
     reaffirming that mining should be allowed and promoted in the 
     remaining area of the SNF.
       H.R. 3905 aims to correct the injustices being thrust upon 
     the Iron Range by requiring congressional approval of any 
     mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving the 
     National Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota, as 
     well as providing for the renewal of certain mineral leases 
     and ensuring future leases in the area remain valid and 
     renewed as outlined by current law. Moreover, H.R. 3905 
     changes no environmental review processes, relaxes no 
     environmental standards, and specifically restates

[[Page H9500]]

     Congress' prohibition on any mining activity in the BWCAW and 
     surrounding protective buffer.
       H.R. 3905 would reaffirm long-standing Congressional intent 
     in the management and development of critical minerals in 
     Minnesota, eliminate bureaucratic delays in developing 
     environmentally-responsible mine projects proposals, and 
     restore the promise of future job growth and economic 
     opportunity to an economically distressed region of the 
     state.
       We strongly urge your vote in support of H.R. 3905. Thank 
     you for your support of mining in Minnesota and the thousands 
     of good paying jobs that are sustained through safe and 
     effective management of these natural resources.
           Sincerely,
                                                        Tim Worke,
                                                              CEO.

  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation is quite simply a giveaway of mining 
rights on roughly 5,000 acres of public lands right next to the 
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota to a 
Chilean mining conglomerate so that it can develop a copper mine that 
will, in all likelihood, leach toxic acid waste into the Boundary 
Waters for decades, if not centuries, to come. In order to do this, 
this bill overrides multiple laws that are in place to allow priceless 
natural places to be protected and it vetoes the scientific conclusions 
of the U.S. Forest Service.
  Last year, the Forest Service recommended that two undeveloped 50-
year-old mining leases in Minnesota's Superior National Forest be 
allowed to expire, stating that the development of a copper mine on 
these leases could lead to potentially extreme contamination of the 
Boundary Waters wilderness from acid mine drainage and leached 
materials.
  The Boundary Waters isn't just a pristine and unique wilderness, it 
is also an economic engine for northern Minnesota. Over 1,000 pristine 
lakes, 1,200 miles of streams, and 2,000 campsites attract more than 
150,000 visitors each year to canoe, kayak, fish, bird watch, ski, and 
simply explore and enjoy the natural beauty and peacefulness that is 
unlike anywhere else in the United States. These visitors bring in tens 
of millions of dollars annually, supporting thousands of local jobs.

                              {time}  1530

  The ecological and economic value of the Boundary Waters led the 
Forest Service to conclude: `` . . . development of a regionally 
untested copper-nickel sulfide-ore mine within the same watershed as 
the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness might cause serious and 
irreplaceable harm to this unique, iconic, and irreplaceable wilderness 
area.''
  As a result, the leases were not renewed, and the Forest Service 
began a study to look at whether to protect the area adjacent to the 
Boundary Waters from mining for the next 20 years. This 2-year study is 
open. It is a public process designed to gather scientific information 
and local views on the potential impacts of copper mining, which is 
immediately adjacent to the Boundary Waters, and it is supported by an 
overwhelming majority--79 percent--of the voters in Minnesota.
  Even this administration here in Washington has said that it intends 
to allow the study to run its course before making any decisions, but 
this legislation would make that study meaningless. It would reinstate 
the leases and make it almost impossible for them to expire. It would 
block the Forest Service from acting on its study no matter what it 
found and how the people in the region feel, and it would make it 
impossible for the President of the United States to protect this area 
using the Antiquities Act, all so a Chilean mining company can move 
forward with a dangerous mine next to one of our most pristine and 
special natural places.
  Mr. Chairman, our public lands belong to all Americans, not simply to 
wealthy mining companies with the connections and the cash to try to 
overturn decisions they don't like through legislation. The company 
that we are talking about is challenging this decision to not renew 
their leases in court. That is the appropriate venue for that debate, 
not here in the Halls of Congress. We shouldn't rewrite the law to make 
sure that they get their way.
  Even if the company wins the case, we should not be tying the Federal 
Government's hands to make sure that this mine gets developed, no 
matter what, instead of listening to the science. That is the wrong 
thing to do for any project like this, let alone one that sits right 
next to a unique and delicate wilderness like the Boundary Waters.
  This bill is a blatant attempt to reward an individual foreign 
company at the expense of the American people and the American 
landscape, and I urge my colleagues to reject this legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Emmer), the originator of this bill.
  Mr. EMMER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me this 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, today's debate on H.R. 3905, Minnesota's Economic Rights 
in the Superior National Forest Act, also known as the MINER Act, is 
not just important to the great State of Minnesota. This legislation is 
critically important to the United States.
  The MINER Act will reverse the misguided, last-minute actions of the 
Obama administration to stop any exploration of one of the most 
valuable precious metal deposits in the world.
  The MINER Act will ensure that the people of Minnesota have the 
opportunity for jobs and economic prosperity that would come if the 
deposit can ever be mined in an environmentally safe and responsible 
manner.
  The MINER Act will renew the Federal Government's commitment and 
promise to the citizens of Minnesota. When the Superior National Forest 
was created in 1909 and, later, when the Boundary Waters Canoe Area was 
established in 1978, there was an express agreement between the Federal 
Government and the State of Minnesota that mining and logging could 
continue in the Superior National Forest. In fact, according to the 
most recent Superior National Forest land use management plan, mining 
and logging are considered a desired condition in the forest.
  This is about more than just the 10,000-plus jobs which are now at 
risk because of the lameduck actions of the Obama administration. This 
is about billions of dollars in revenue for Minnesota's economy and 
billions more in potential education funding for Minnesota's schools 
that are now on the line. This is about strategically important metals 
and minerals which are used by Americans every day. This is about 
undoing a last-ditch effort to further a political agenda at the 
expense of the livelihoods that Minnesotans have relied on for 
generations.
  The MINER Act, again, is about protecting Minnesota's right to 
explore and, if environmentally appropriate, mine valuable and 
important precious metals, precious metals that are not only necessary 
to our everyday technology, but which are critically important to our 
Nation's national defense.
  There are some who would like to deny Minnesota the right to explore 
and potentially mine these precious metals. They argue that any mining 
activity could negatively impact our beloved Boundary Waters Canoe 
Area. This concern, however, ignores the fact that, if a mine is ever 
proposed, and to date there has been no mine proposed, if one is ever 
proposed in the Superior National Forest, it would have to satisfy all 
current local, State, and Federal environmental review and permitting 
requirements before it could ever be approved to proceed.
  We can and we will protect the Boundary Waters. I have no doubt that 
we can find a way to preserve Minnesota's pristine landscape without 
permanently destroying any future job creation or economic development 
in Minnesota. By passing the MINER Act, we protect thousands of jobs 
and billions of dollars in revenue and education funding while leaving 
an extensive process intact to protect and preserve the environment and 
our State.
  In conclusion, I encourage all my colleagues to support the MINER Act 
because we know someday someone might find a way to mine these 
important precious metals in a safe and environmentally responsible 
way, and if that happens, Minnesota deserves the opportunity and the 
jobs and economic prosperity that will ensue.

[[Page H9501]]

  

  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 8 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Minnesota (Ms. McCollum).
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this 
destructive bill.
  This bill undermines bedrock environmental and public land management 
laws in order to create a perpetual lease for a foreign-owned toxic 
mine. This mine will be on the doorstep of one of our country's last 
truly wild places, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
  The Boundary Waters contains 1.1 million acres of unspoiled woodlands 
and more than 1,000 pristine lakes. The water wilderness is beloved by 
adventurers, canoers, sportsmen, and sportswomen from all across the 
United States and around the world.
  To safeguard this natural treasure, Congress has prohibited logging, 
mining, and even the use of most motorized vehicles on this Federal 
land. It has made the Boundary Waters a haven for birds and other 
wildlife and the most visited wilderness area in the United States of 
America.
  These visitors, over 250,000 annually, have helped the economy and 
created jobs in northern Minnesota, but the bill we are debating today 
puts this all at risk. It paves the way for a massive sulfide-ore 
copper mine just a few miles from the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
  Sulfide-ore mining is the most toxic industry in the United States. 
Sulfide mines pollute waterways with acid drainage, which contain 
arsenic, lead, and mercury. This type of mining is particularly risky 
in the vast, interconnected watershed that flows throughout the 
Boundary Waters into Voyageurs National Park and across the border into 
the Canadian provincial park.
  The supporters of H.R. 3905 claim that the bill still protects the 
Boundary Waters because the mines will be located outside the 
wilderness area. Mr. Speaker, this is simply not the case. Let me show 
you where the mining would take place here.
  This is the site of the proposed mine on the edge of the wilderness 
area. The river that you see flows through the Boundary Waters. The 
area contains popular Forest Service campgrounds and entry points to 
the wilderness. It is a base for scouting and veterans' outdoor 
recreation trips. Some of the Superior National Forest's most popular 
fishing lakes and hunting grounds are in this area. They are home to 
hundreds of people and businesses.
  If this bill passes, it will create an industrial wasteland. This 
bill poses an unacceptable risk of irreparable damage to a pristine 
wilderness.
  A 2012 study of American sulfide-ore mines found that all mines have 
leaked, and 92 percent of them had experienced failures that negatively 
affected the local water quality. Even state-of-the-art sulfide-ore 
copper mines consistently pollute their surrounding environments.
  For example, in August 2014, a copper mine in British Columbia 
released a toxic slurry--10 billion liters of wastewater and 5 billion 
liters of tailings--that created a polluted dystopia of dead trees and 
contaminated salmon spawning areas.
  Because of the risks involved with these mines, the Forest Service 
has begun a 2-year environmental review that will determine if the 
Boundary Waters is an appropriate place for dangerous sulfide-ore 
copper mining or if a 20-year withdrawal of mining rights in the 
watershed is appropriate.
  This review is the process that Congress established, under the 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act, for considering mineral 
withdrawal. The review is supported by Minnesota's Governor, tribal 
governments, and 79 percent of all Minnesotans. It also has been 
supported by both the current and the former administration.
  Just this morning, again, I spoke with the chief of the U.S. Forest 
Service and thanked him for the administration's commitment to allow 
the study to go forward.
  But the bill we are considering today stops this established 
scientific review process from going forward. Instead, it creates a 
loophole for the benefit of a foreign mining interest. It automatically 
reinstates two expired and denied leasings dating back to 1966, before 
modern environmental laws like the Clean Water Act. It allows permanent 
mining leases on national forestland, our Nation's public land, 
removing scientific safeguards, environmental considerations, and 
public input from the renewal process. It exempts Federal forests in 
Minnesota from the protections of the landmark Antiquities Act. It sets 
a dangerous precedent and will have consequences all across our 
country.
  There is simply no justification for Congress to rewrite the rules 
for our Federal forests in Minnesota, and that is exactly what this 
piece of legislation does. In short, this proposal is a giveaway of 
public resources to private interests. One of our Nation's last wild 
places becomes collateral damage.
  Good people of both parties all across Minnesota and throughout this 
country know the importance of protecting this pristine wilderness, and 
that is why so many of them have submitted letters to Congress in 
opposition to H.R. 3905.
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record these letters of opposition from 
Minnesota's Governor, Mark Dayton; three Tribal nations: Fond du Lac, 
Grand Portage, and White Earth Bands of the Minnesota Chippewa; the 
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the National Wildlife 
Federation, and other sporting groups; the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and 
Wisconsin; Veterans for the Boundary Waters; and a coalition of dozens 
of national organizations that advocate for clean water and public 
lands and conservation.

                                               State of Minnesota,


                               Office of Governor Mark Dayton,

                                Saint Paul, MN, November 27, 2017.
     Hon. Paul Ryan,
     Speaker of the House, House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Speaker Ryan: I write in strong opposition to H.R. 
     3905, which I understand has passed out of Committee and is 
     being reviewed by House Majority Leadership for a floor vote. 
     I implore you not to schedule a vote on this bill without a 
     full vetting of the serious risks to the Boundary Waters 
     Canoe Area Wilderness from adjacent copper-nickel mining, the 
     status of the two-year federal study currently underway, and 
     the wishes of the majority of Minnesotans, who oppose copper-
     nickel mining in the immediate vicinity of the Boundary 
     Waters.
       H.R. 3905 is a bill, ``To require congressional approval of 
     any mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving the 
     National Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota, to 
     provide for the renewal of certain mineral leases in such 
     lands, and for other purposes.'' H.R. 3905 was introduced in 
     response to the desires of a foreign mining company to use 
     Congress to circumvent the deliberations of the U.S. 
     Departments of Interior and Agriculture and their agencies, 
     the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest 
     Service (USFS), to determine whether copper-nickel mining can 
     be conducted safely in this ecologically sensitive part of 
     Minnesota.
       The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BCWAW) is 
     America's most popular national Wilderness Area, drawing 
     visitors from all over the world to Northeastern Minnesota to 
     fish, hunt, and experience its interconnected pristine lakes, 
     rivers and streams. Additionally, the BWCAW contributes 
     enormously to Minnesota's social and economic wellbeing.
       In January, 2017, the BLM and the USFS began a 
     comprehensive two-year study to determine whether copper-
     nickel mining, with its toxic by-product, sulfide ore, is 
     appropriate within the watershed and immediate vicinity of 
     the BWCA. Specifically, this environmental review will 
     determine whether the Superior National Forest lands next to 
     the BWCAW should be removed from the federal mining program 
     to protect the Wilderness from pollution and other 
     environmental degradation caused by the resulting sulfide 
     ore. The study considers a wide variety of factors, including 
     scientific evidence, public input, economic considerations, 
     ecological characteristics, and recreational value, among 
     others.
       I respectfully ask that you allow the completion of this 
     important review process. Over 126,000 Americans have 
     submitted public comments as part of it. Many attended three 
     public meetings conducted earlier this year by the BLM and 
     USFS. Moving H.R. 3905 forward at this time would disregard 
     the input of all Americans, who have participated in the 
     process, as well as the views of the 79 percent of 
     Minnesotans, who favor the two-year pause and environmental 
     review of potential impacts to the BWCAW.
       The BWCAW is crucially important to our state, and I 
     believe strongly that future federal and state decisions 
     about its future should be made only after the most careful 
     and objective scientific review. I urge you to reject the 
     attempts by a foreign mining corporation to short-circuit the 
     review process underway, and to affirm the importance of a 
     careful, objective analysis under the existing federal legal 
     framework.
       Continuing this review process is the best way to allow for 
     well-informed federal and state decisions, which will affect 
     many future generations of Americans. Industry should not 
     dictate the stewardship of taxpayer-owned public lands, nor 
     use Congress

[[Page H9502]]

     to short-circuit sound decision-making--especially regarding 
     pristine Wilderness Areas like the BWCAW.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Mark Dayton,
     Governor.
                                  ____

         Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation 
           Business Committee,
                                      Cloquet, MN, August 3, 2017.
     Re Subcommittee's July 27, 2017 Hearing on Congressman 
         Emmer's Draft Bill

     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources, Washington, 
         DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Member, House Committee on Natural Resources, 
         Washington, DC.
     Hon. Paul Gosar,
     Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee 
         on Energy and Mineral Resources, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Alan Lowenthal,
     Ranking Member, House Committee on Natural Resources, 
         Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Washington, 
         DC.
       Dear Chairmen Bishop and Gosar and Ranking Members Grijalva 
     and Lowenthal: I write on behalf of the Fond du Lac Band of 
     Lake Superior Chippewa to express our profound concerns 
     about, and strong objections to, the draft bill offered by 
     Congressman Emmer that was the subject of the hearing on July 
     27 before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. 
     This draft bill would retroactively grant to a foreign-owned 
     mining company--one that has a history of environmental 
     violations in its home country--a perpetual lease of federal 
     mineral rights. It would further eliminate an ongoing 
     administrative process that is essential to the proper 
     evaluation of any future development of federal minerals 
     within this exceptional part of the Superior National Forest 
     lands. We urge you not to support this measure.
       The Fond du Lac Band is a federally recognized Indian 
     tribe. We hold a Reservation just south of Superior National 
     Forest which was established for us by Treaty with the United 
     States on September 30, 1854, 10 Stat. 1109. The 1854 Treaty 
     further reserved to us the rights to hunt, fish and gather on 
     lands outside our Reservation. These lands extend into the 
     Arrowhead region of Minnesota, and encompass the lands within 
     much of Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters 
     Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), including the lands that are 
     affected by this draft bill.
       The BWCAW, the lands adjacent to it, as well as the lands 
     beyond the BWCAW's buffer zone and within the Superior 
     National Forest, are pristine. This region--within the Rainy 
     Lake Watershed--is a unique water-based ecosystem with 
     thousands of lakes and interconnected waterbodies. The 
     quality of its waters is high and those waters provide 
     critically important habitat for fish and wildlife, including 
     moose and other unique natural resources like wild rice. The 
     waters, wild rice, fish and game are especially important to 
     the Chippewa. Such natural resources have sustained our 
     people for centuries and are the foundation of our culture 
     and religion. The natural resources in this region play an 
     increasingly important role in our ability to feed our 
     families and exercise our Treaty rights, because many of the 
     waters southwest of this region are impaired (as designated 
     by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) from mining 
     pollutants which have, in turn, destroyed wild rice beds and 
     led to fish consumption advisories.
       Although northeastern Minnesota has a long history of 
     mining, the mining done to date in the State has been for 
     iron and taconite. The proposals to develop sulfide ore 
     mining, for copper, nickel and palladium, would be the first 
     of their kind in Minnesota. The history of such mines 
     elsewhere highlights the very serious environmental damage 
     that they pose from acid mine drainage--risks that Minnesota 
     has not yet had occasion to address or regulate. Those risks 
     are especially acute in water-based ecosystems like those in 
     the BWCAW and the Rainy Lake watershed of Minnesota. And the 
     proposed development of sulfide ore mines in lands 
     immediately south of the BWCAW poses a serious and direct 
     threat to the BWCAW for the very simple reason that the 
     waters in that region flow north--towards the BWCAW.
       Because of the very substantial risks posed by sulfide-ore 
     mining, Minnesota Governor Dayton made a decision in March 
     2016 not to permit the use of state lands for mining in this 
     area, and subsequently the Secretaries of Interior and 
     Agriculture made like decisions with regard to federal lands. 
     In particular, these federal agencies declined to renew two 
     leases of federal minerals which had been made a half-century 
     ago to the predecessor of Twin Metals Mine, and its foreign 
     owner, Antofagasta Minerals. One of these leases covers land 
     that is directly adjacent to the BWCAW. The other is within 
     three miles of the BWCAW. The federal decision was based on a 
     determination that the leases posed an unacceptable risk to 
     the waters and natural resources in the BWCAW. In connection 
     with that decision, the Departments of Interior and 
     Agriculture initiated a process to evaluate whether 234,328 
     acres of federal lands within this ecologically unique region 
     should be withdrawn from mining.
       The federal review process is now underway and should be 
     allowed to continue. Decisions on whether to allow sulfide-
     ore mining, especially in this unique water-based ecosystem, 
     need to take into account all of the impacts of the proposed 
     project and should be based on objective science, economics 
     and the social and related impacts of such development on the 
     lives and livelihood of Minnesotans, including federally-
     protected tribal Treaty rights.
       Such analysis should also be done before any decision is 
     made to reinstate expired, or expiring, leases of federal 
     minerals in this area. The need for such an analysis is 
     illustrated by the expired leases for the Twin Metals Mine. 
     The original leases, which had a 20-year term, were made in 
     1966, well before enactment of laws that are essential to 
     protecting the environment, such as the Clean Water Act. The 
     original leases were also made before the federal courts 
     confirmed the continued rights of the Chippewa to hunt, fish 
     and gather in this region, and accordingly do not take into 
     account the impact of the mineral leases on these treaty-
     protected rights. All such matters should be carefully 
     considered, and the on-going administrative review process is 
     intended to do this and should be allowed to continue.
       The draft bill does not do this. Instead of allowing a 
     process that would permit informed decision-making, the bill 
     would eliminate the on-going review process. The bill would 
     further retroactively reinstate the Twin Metals' expired 
     leases, while rewriting the terms of those leases to convert 
     them into ``indeterminate'' leases, while further limiting 
     the federal government's ability to impose conditions on 
     these leases--giving to the company what appears to be 
     essentially a perpetual right to the federal minerals on 
     these lands. Further, the bill would do the same for all 
     other unidentified leases that may now exist on National 
     Forest Service lands within Minnesota, as well as any future 
     such leases.
       The kind of mining that Twin Metals and Antofagasta propose 
     to develop is dangerous and poses a direct and substantial 
     threat to what has long been recognized as an exceptional and 
     extraordinary wilderness. Those threats should be carefully 
     assessed through the on-going administrative review process. 
     Congress should not enact laws that preclude informed 
     decision-making or which blindly re-write leases, but should 
     allow the federal agencies which have been delegated 
     responsibility for addressing the terms and conditions on 
     which federal lands may be leased, to continue to exercise 
     that authority under existing law. Finally, to the extent 
     that Twin Metals Mine contends that the federal government's 
     decision not to renew its leases is wrong, it has already 
     chosen to raise those claims in federal court, where they are 
     pending.
       We urge Congress not to proceed with this draft bill.
           Sincerely,
                                             Kevin R. Dupuis, Sr.,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

                                         Grand Portage Reservation


                                               Tribal Council,

                                Grand Portage, MN, April 29, 2016.
     Hon. Tom Vilsack,
     Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
         Washington, DC.
     Hon. Christina Goldfuss,
     Director, Council on Environmental Quality, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Sally Jewell,
     Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Interior, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Jewell, and Director 
     Goldfuss: The Grand Portage Band (``the Band'') is a 
     federally recognized Indian tribe, as one of the member bands 
     of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (``MCT''). The Band, along 
     with two other MCT Bands, Fond du Lac and Bois Forte, retain 
     hunting, fishing, and other usufructuary rights that extend 
     throughout the entire northeast portion of the state of 
     Minnesota under the 1854 Treaty of LaPointe (the ``Ceded 
     Territory''). In the Ceded Territory, all the Bands have a 
     legal interest in protecting natural resources and all 
     federal agencies share in the federal government's trust 
     responsibility to the Bands to maintain those treaty 
     resources.
       The Band is concerned with the prospect of a series of 
     sulfide-ore mines being developed in the headwaters of the 
     Boundary Waters Canoe Area (``BWCA'') watershed. The BWCA 
     watershed is located on the Minnesota/Ontario border and is 
     entirely within the 1854 Ceded Territory. The BWCA watershed 
     is comprised of a vast area of pristine interconnected 
     waterways that have been used by the Chippewa for centuries. 
     Low buffering capacity of water and soil and the 
     interconnection of lakes and streams, make the BWCA watershed 
     particularly vulnerable to the impacts of mining.
       Sulfide-ore mines are proposed to be built in the BWCA 
     watershed, immediately adjacent to the BWCA and upstream from 
     it. These mines would threaten to pollute pristine water and 
     damage the important forest habitat used by many types of 
     wildlife. Sulfide-ore mining has a consistent record of 
     devastating environmental harm, including contaminating 
     waters, degrading forests, and predicted, catastrophic spills 
     of toxic materials. There are inherent risks to sulfide-ore 
     mining, and it makes no sense to place what the Environmental 
     Protection Agency calls the nation's most toxic industry in 
     the BWCA watershed and within the Ceded Territory upon which 
     the Band relies.
       Therefore, the Band is requesting that the Department of 
     interior and Department of Agriculture take steps to 
     permanently protect the Boundary Waters watershed front

[[Page H9503]]

     sulfide-ore mining. Specifically, we urge you to:
       1. Ensure that no leasing of federal minerals occurs within 
     the BWCA watershed by denying applications for new federal 
     mineral leases and federal mineral lease renewals.
       2. Withdraw the federally owned minerals within the BWCA 
     watershed from the federal mineral leasing program.
       3. Take any additional measures necessary to protect the 
     BWCA watershed from the threat of sulfide-ore mining.
       We urge you to ensure that the full extent of the risks 
     posed by large-scale sulfide-ore mining in the BWCA 
     headwaters are thoroughly considered in order to determine 
     the best course for the future of the watershed and the 
     tribal communities who rely on its clean water and intact 
     forested habitats to exercise usufructuary rights.
           Sincerely,
                                              Norman W. Deschampe,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

                                           White Earth Reservation


                                               Tribal Council,

                                    White Earth, MN, May 23, 2016.
     Hon. Tom Vilsack,
     Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 
         Washington, DC.
     Hon. Christina Goldfuss,
     Director, Council on Environmental Quality,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Sally Jewell,
     Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Interior, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Jewell, and Director 
     Goldfuss: The Grand Portage Band (``the Band'') is a 
     federally recognized Indian tribe, as one of the member bands 
     of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (``MCT''). The Band, along 
     with two other MCT Bands, Fond duLac and Bois Forte, retain 
     hunting, fishing, and other usufructuary rights that extend 
     throughout the entire northeast portion of the state of 
     Minnesota under the 1854 Treaty of LaPointe. In the Ceded 
     Territory, all the Bands have a legal interest in protecting 
     natural resources and all federal agencies share in the 
     federal government's trust responsibility to the Bands to 
     maintain those treaty resources.
       The Band is concerned with the prospect of a series of 
     sulfide-ore mines being developed in the headwaters of the 
     Boundary Waters Canoe Area (``BWCA'') watershed. The BWCA 
     watershed is located on the Minnesota/Ontario border and is 
     entirely within the 1854 Ceded Territory. The BWCA watershed 
     is comprised of a vast area of pristine interconnected 
     waterways that have been used by the Chippewa for centuries. 
     Low buffering capacity of water and soil and the 
     interconnection of lakes and streams, make the BWCA watershed 
     particularly vulnerable to the impacts of mining.
       Sulfide-ore mines are proposed to be built in the BWCA 
     watershed, immediately adjacent to the BWCA and upstream from 
     it. These mines would threaten to pollute pristine water and 
     damage the important forest habitat used by many types of 
     wildlife. Sulfide-ore mining has a consistent record of 
     devastating environmental harm, including contaminating 
     waters, degrading forests, and unpredicted, catastrophic 
     spills of toxic materials.
       There are inherent risks to sulfide-ore mining. and it 
     makes no sense to place what the Environmental Protection 
     Agency calls the nation's most toxic industry in the BWCA 
     watershed and within the Ceded Territory upon which the Band 
     relies.
       Therefore, White Earth is requesting that the Department of 
     Interior and Department of Agriculture take steps to 
     permanently protect the Boundary Waters watershed from 
     sulfide-ore mining. Specifically, we urge you to:
       1. Ensure that no leasing of federal minerals occurs within 
     the BWCA watershed by denying applications for new federal 
     mineral leases and federal mineral lease renewals.
       2. Withdraw the federally owned minerals within the BWCA 
     watershed from the federal mineral leasing program.
       3. Take any additional measures necessary to protect the 
     BWCA watershed from the threat of sulfide-ore mining.
       We urge you to ensure that the full extent of the risks 
     posed by large-scale sulfide-ore mining in the BWCA 
     headwaters are thoroughly considered in order to determine 
     the best course for the future of the watershed and the 
     tribal communities who rely on its clean water and intact 
     forested habitats to exercise usufructuary rights.
           Sincerely,
                                           Steven ``Punky'' Clark,
     Vice-Chairman.
                                  ____

                                                 Sportsmen for the


                                              Boundary Waters,

                                       Ely, MN, November 28, 2017.
       Dear Representative: On behalf of our millions of members 
     and supporters, we urge you to OPPOSE H.R. 3905, the so-
     called ``Minnesota's Economic Rights in the Superior National 
     Forest Act'' when it is considered on the House floor.
       Simply put, H.R. 3905 is a bill to allow sulfide-ore mining 
     at the edge of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness 
     (BWCAW), directly threatening one of America's most 
     accessible and most-visited wilderness areas. At 1.1 million 
     acres in size, the BWCAW is the largest wilderness east of 
     the Rockies and north of the Everglades. This interconnected 
     system of lakes, rivers, and streams provides unparalleled 
     opportunities for solitude, recreation, hunting and fishing. 
     The connections between Northern Minnesota's national 
     forests, Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs 
     National Park, and Quetico Provincial Park makes this entire 
     trans boundary area extremely susceptible to the threat of 
     pollution from sulfide-ore mining, one of the most toxic 
     industries in America, according to the EPA.
       H.R. 3905 would require congressional approval of any 
     mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving National 
     Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota and would 
     provide for the perpetual renewal of federal mineral leases 
     in Minnesota, including two that were denied by the Forest 
     Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The bill 
     undermines the Antiquities Act, National Environmental Policy 
     Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Boundary Waters 
     Wilderness Act, and other laws regulating mineral leasing in 
     Minnesota's national forests.
       Contrary to the bill's title, H.R. 3905 would do more harm 
     than good for the economy of Northern Minnesota. Economic 
     analysis by Key-Log Economics LLC shows that sulfide-ore 
     mining on Superior National Forest lands in the watershed of 
     the Boundary Waters could lead to the loss of nearly 5,000 
     jobs in tourism, 5,000 to 22,000 jobs in the rest of the 
     economy, a $1.6 billion loss in annual income, and a $500 
     million reduction in private property values.
       Specifically, we urge opposition to this bill because it 
     would:
       Renew two expired and undeveloped mineral leases on 
     Superior National Forest lands next to the Boundary Waters 
     and along lakes and rivers that flow directly into the 
     Wilderness, advancing a foreign mining company's interests at 
     the expense of beloved American public lands.
       Void the December 2016 record of decision by the Forest 
     Service withholding its consent to two mineral lease renewal 
     requests in the Superior National Forest due to the 
     unacceptable risks to this watershed, which according to the 
     Forest Service holds 20 percent of the National Forest 
     System's fresh water supply.
       Undermine the National Environmental Policy Act by limiting 
     review of these two mineral leases to a 30-day environmental 
     assessment. Contrary to the bill language, there is no 
     `pending EA.' However, this section would override the 
     ongoing two-year Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
     initiated by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management 
     to carefully consider the potential impacts of sulfide-ore 
     mining on the Boundary Waters watershed. The ongoing EIS is 
     strongly supported by Minnesota's Governor Dayton and by the 
     citizens of Minnesota. More than 79% of Minnesota voters 
     support the study, while more than 126,000 citizens submitted 
     comments during the scoping phase.
       Amend the 1906 Antiquities Act by mandating Congressional 
     approval for any national monument designations in 
     Minnesota's national forests. The Antiquities Act is a 
     bipartisan conservation law, which has been used by 
     Presidents of both parties, to protect irreplaceable federal 
     lands from potential threats. Monument designation under the 
     Antiquities Act have provided protections for areas including 
     the Grand Canyon, Acadia, Zion, Muir Woods, and Olympic 
     National Parks. Quite simply, this attack on the Antiquities 
     Act is an attack against our national parks and monuments.
       Amend the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
     (FLPMA) by mandating Congressional approval for mineral 
     withdrawals in Minnesota's national forests. Additionally, 
     FLPMA intentionally left intact the presidential power to 
     protect public lands as monuments.
       Bar the Forest Service from complying with its legal 
     obligations under the 1978 Boundary Waters Wilderness Act. In 
     this Act Congress requires the Forest Service to maintain the 
     high-water quality of the Boundary Waters and a Mining 
     Protection Area within the Superior National Forest. The 
     Forest Service concluded that sulfide-ore mining near the 
     Boundary Waters would be ``contrary to Congress' 
     determination that it is necessary to `protect the special 
     qualities of the [BWCAW] as a natural forest-lakeland 
     wilderness ecosystem of major esthetic, scientific, 
     recreational and educational value to the Nation.' ''
       Make all mineral leases on Minnesota's national forests 
     essentially perpetual. The `perpetual' nature of these leases 
     is material change in long-standing mineral leasing law and 
     policy. The bill would also override the two laws (1946 and 
     1950) on mineral leasing in Minnesota's national forests that 
     require Forest Service consent to any mining.
       Ignore the request of the International Joint Commission 
     that environmental review of impacts on trans boundary water 
     quality and cumulative effects be studied and the requests of 
     four tribal entities (the area is Ceded Territory).
       Thank you for considering our concerns. In order to 
     adequately protect iconic places like the Boundary Waters, 
     Voyageurs National Park, and all of Minnesota's public lands, 
     and bedrock environmental laws like the Antiquities Act and 
     the National Environmental Policy Act, we urge you to OPPOSE 
     H.R. 3905.
           Sincerely,
     Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
     National Wildlife Federation.
     Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
     Fly Fishers

[[Page H9504]]

     International.
     Minnesota Division, Izaak Walton League of America. 
     American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
     Pope and Young Club.
     Keepitpublic.org.
                                  ____

         Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines,
                                                November 26, 2017.
       Dear Member of Congress, I am writing to request you vote 
     no on H.R. 3905, which is a bill that would stop a 2-year 
     Forest Service study of environmental, economic, and social 
     risks to the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining 
     on Superior National Forest lands in the headwaters of the 
     Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
       For over fifty years, Northern Lakes Canoe Base has offered 
     wilderness canoe trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area 
     Wilderness (BWCAW). I guided Girl Scout canoe trips for five 
     years and have directed our wilderness program for 7 years 
     and am writing this letter to describe the strengths of this 
     program to you and to underscore the fact that this one-of-a-
     kind program cannot exist anywhere other than the Boundary 
     Waters.
       Girls who come on our canoe trips may have had basic 
     camping and canoeing experiences, but few have experience in 
     wilderness travel. We typically serve 150-200 girls a summer.
       In general, girls travel in wilderness areas less than 
     boys. Even in 2017, girls are taught to think that the 
     outdoors is no place for a girl because it is hard work, 
     dirty, and going to the mall is just much easier. We teach 
     teenage girls, in a girl-only environment, that their 
     individual strength and the power of teamwork is far greater 
     than they ever imagined. They also learn that hard work and 
     dirt is part of the fun on a Boundary Waters canoe trip, and 
     they leave with an appreciation for the beauty of wilderness 
     and an understanding of the challenges they now know they can 
     overcome. Girl Scout wilderness canoe trips bring out the 
     best in teenage girls; we see how creative, hardworking, and 
     kind they can be to each other. It doesn't take much 
     imagination to believe that these traits will follow them 
     back to their everyday life.
       We are a high quality, affordable program and pride 
     ourselves on our thriftiness. We use our canoes for 20+ 
     seasons and packs and paddles summer after summer. We do this 
     so we can serve girls from all economic backgrounds, 
     including local iron range and Native American communities.
       For years we have received feedback from participants 
     crediting their Boundary Waters experience for continued, 
     life-long growth. Our program cannot exist somewhere other 
     than the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. No other 
     place on earth offers the perfect combination of 
     accessibility and high adventure that the BWCAW offers. Many 
     of our participants drive to Ely from Chicago, Milwaukee, and 
     Minneapolis. Many others fly to Minneapolis and then rent a 
     car to get to Ely. Unlike many other wilderness areas which 
     may be high on a mountain range or only accessible by high-
     clearance vehicles, it is easy for a mom or dad to drive a 
     van full of girls to the Boundary Waters, send them on a 
     trip, and then pick them up a week later.
       The Boundary Waters is also unique in that, unlike many 
     other wilderness areas, visitors don't require any previous 
     experience or training to have a safe, adventurous trip. 
     Anyone seeking adventure and challenge belongs on a canoe 
     trip, not just body builders and endurance athletes. We have 
     even seen that a Girl Scout canoe trip sometimes inspires 
     girls who may be uninterested in athletics or leadership to 
     seek out their own creative ways to be active and healthy, 
     leading to improved confidence and greater aspirations. 
     Again, it doesn't take much imagination to conclude that 
     girls who experience wilderness travel will go on to make the 
     world a better place.
       Girl Scouts canoe trip participants always remark that the 
     solitude they find in the Boundary Waters is unlike any they 
     have found elsewhere, whether at their own Girl Scout 
     resident camp or a state or national park. The quiet 
     environment of a protected wilderness area gives them an 
     opportunity to reflect on their life in a way that they could 
     not in a non-wilderness setting. Girl Scouts end their canoe 
     trip with a swagger to their step, ready to take on any 
     challenge that comes their way.
       Thank you for doing your part to preserve the Boundary 
     Waters Canoe Area Wilderness by voting no on H.R. 3905. It 
     means a lot to all of us in Ely whose programs and businesses 
     are focused around wilderness travel.
           Sincerely,

                                                  Ann McNally,

                                         Northern Lakes Canoe Base
     Summer Program Director/Guide.
                                  ____

                                                November 28, 2017.
       Dear Representative: Representative Tom Emmer's bill, H.R. 
     3905, is a dangerous piece of legislation that endangers the 
     public land we as veterans fought to protect. This bill would 
     allow a foreign mining conglomerate, Antofagasta, to build 
     dangerous copper-nickel mines in the headwaters of America's 
     most visited Wilderness Area, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area 
     Wilderness in Northeastern Minnesota. On behalf of Veterans 
     for the Boundary Waters, I urge you to vote no on H.R. 3905.
       The Boundary Waters is a place of healing for many veterans 
     suffering from trauma or having difficulty readjusting to 
     life at home. The peace found in this Wilderness is 
     priceless, and if destroyed, we will be robbing future 
     veterans of their chance to heal. One specific camp, Voyageur 
     Outward Bound School (VOBS), provides vets-only trips to help 
     veterans readjust to life at home through Wilderness 
     experiences. This program has been incredibly successful. 
     Unfortunately, VOBS is located on the same lake as the 
     proposed mines and, if passed, H.R. 3905 would cause this 
     camp to shut down, eliminating hundreds of American jobs by 
     moving to Canada, and eliminating and the opportunity for 
     veterans to take advantage of these incredibly beneficial 
     programs.
       If passed, H.R. 3905 would have severe negative 
     consequences for veterans in Minnesota and across the 
     country. The Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park are 
     public lands that are meant to be protected for veterans and 
     their families to enjoy. H.R. 3905 would endanger these 
     public lands and prohibit future generations of veterans from 
     experiencing these national treasures. We have an obligation 
     to honor our nation's veterans by protecting the same public 
     lands they fought for.
       Again, please VOTE NO on H.R. 3905.
           Sincerely,
       Erik Packard, Staff Sergeant U.S. Army and Army Reserve 
     1996-2004, 2006-2013; Joe Banavige, US Army Officer, Desert 
     Storm 1st Armored Division; Craig Shaver, US Marine Corps 
     Infantry, Operation Enduring Freedom; Sergio Manacero, 1st 
     Combat Engineer Batallion, 1st Marine Division.
                                  ____

                                                 November 6, 2017.
     Re: H.R. 3905.

     Member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, House 
         of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee: 
     The undersigned coalitions, organizations, and businesses 
     represent approximately 18 million sportsmen and sportswomen, 
     282 businesses, and the broad spectrum of users of the 
     Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from across America. We 
     stand united in strong opposition to H.R. 3905.
       H.R. 3905 would require congressional approval of any 
     mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving National 
     Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota and would 
     provide for the renewal of two federal mineral leases that 
     were denied by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land 
     Management. Specifically, the bill would:
       Renew two mineral leases on Superior National Forest lands 
     next to the Boundary Waters and along lakes and rivers that 
     flow directly into the Wilderness. The now-expired mineral 
     leases have never been developed into a mine.
       Void the 18-page record of decision by the Forest Service 
     withholding its consent to two mineral lease renewal 
     requests. Peer-reviewed science documents that sulfide-ore 
     copper mining on these lease areas would pollute the Boundary 
     Waters. An overwhelming majority of the public supports this 
     decision and by more than two to one, opposes copper mining 
     near the Boundary Waters (2017 Fabrizio Ward poll).
       Undermine the National Environmental Policy Act by limiting 
     review of these two mineral leases to a 30-day environmental 
     assessment. Contrary to the bill language, there is no 
     `pending EA.' The expired mineral leases have never undergone 
     environmental review. Scientific evidence documents the 
     potential for negative environmental harm to a national 
     wilderness area (Boundary Waters) and a national park 
     (Voyageurs National Park) if mining were allowed on these 
     lease areas, and NEPA requires unrestricted environmental 
     review.
       Make all mineral leases on Minnesota's national forests 
     essentially perpetual. The `perpetual' nature of these leases 
     is material change in long-standing mineral leasing law and 
     policy.
       Over-ride the two laws (1946 and 1950) on mineral leasing 
     in Minnesota's national forests that require Forest Service 
     consent to any mining.
       Amend the 1906 Antiquities Act by mandating Congressional 
     approval for any national monument designations in 
     Minnesota's national forests.
       Amend the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act by 
     mandating Congressional approval for mineral withdrawals in 
     Minnesota's national forests
       Bar the Forest Service from complying with its legal 
     obligations under the 1978 Boundary Waters Wilderness Act.
       Ignore the request of the International Joint Commission 
     that environmental review of impacts on transboundary water 
     quality and cumulative effects be studied and the requests of 
     four tribal entities (the area is Ceded Territory).
       The Boundary Waters is the most-accessible and most-visited 
     Wilderness area in the nation. It draws 155,000 visitors 
     every year and provides unparalleled backcountry 
     opportunities. At 1.1 million acres in size, it is the 
     largest Wilderness east of the Rockies and north of the 
     Everglades. The vast network of lakes, rivers, and streams 
     that gives the Boundary Waters its name is the basis of our 
     strong canoe culture. The Boundary Waters includes 1,200 
     miles of canoe and kayak routes and 2,000 designated 
     campsites, and is home to some of the finest backcountry 
     angling and hunting in the nation. Sportsmen and women ply 
     the clean waters and healthy forests of the Wilderness in 
     pursuit of walleye, bass, pike, trout, bear, deer, grouse, 
     and wild rice.

[[Page H9505]]

       The scientific evidence of harm to the Boundary Waters from 
     sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed is strong. 
     Hydrologists say that pollution is inevitable--it is not `if' 
     but `when.' Hardrock mining is the most toxic industry in 
     America, according to the EPA. The acid mine drainage 
     associated with this type of mining harms water, aquatic and 
     terrestrial species, forests, and soils, and poses a serious 
     risk to human health. Scientific and economic studies show 
     that sulfide-ore copper mining along lakes and streams that 
     flow directly into the Boundary Waters puts at risk not only 
     our premiere fishing, hunting, and recreation on Superior 
     National Forest lands, but also the strong, stable economy of 
     Northeastern Minnesota. Economic analysis by Key-Log 
     Economics LLC shows that sulfide-ore copper mining on 
     Superior National Forest lands in the watershed of the 
     Boundary Waters could lead to the loss of nearly 5,000 jobs 
     in tourism, 5,000 to 22,000 jobs in the rest of the economy, 
     a $1.6 billion loss in annual income, and a $500 million 
     reduction in private property values.
       H.R. 3905, an ill-advised effort to advance a foreign 
     mining company's interests at the expense of beloved public 
     lands, would gut long-standing and powerful national 
     conservation laws and undermine recent decisions by the 
     Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture to take 
     a two-year pause in mining-related activity to analyze the 
     risks of sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed of the 
     Boundary Waters.
       Agriculture Secretary Perdue and Interior Secretary Zinke 
     support the ongoing Forest Service two-year study. H.R. 3905 
     would remove authority for them and their agencies to make 
     appropriate and reasonable decisions to manage the Superior 
     National Forest and the Boundary Waters.
       The ongoing two-year Forest Service study was initiated by 
     the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management after 
     careful consideration of the potential impacts of sulfide-ore 
     copper mining in the Boundary Waters watershed. It is 
     strongly supported by Minnesota's Governor Dayton and by the 
     citizens of Minnesota. More than 79% of Minnesota voters 
     support the study. More than 126,000 citizens submitted 
     comments during the scoping phase and more than 3,000 people 
     participated in three Forest Service listening sessions and, 
     by a margin of nearly two-to-one, testified in support of 
     protecting the Boundary Waters.
           Sincerely,
       Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, By Jason Zabokrtsky, 
     Chair, Representing 15 hunting and fishing organizations; 
     Boundary Waters Business Coalition, By Steve Piragis, Chair, 
     Representing 282 businesses from Minnesota and throughout 
     America; Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters; By Becky Rom, 
     Chair; Representing 26 conservation organizations; Veterans 
     for the Boundary Waters; By Erik Packard, Chair, Representing 
     military veterans; Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts for the 
     Boundary Waters, By Ann McNally, Chair.

  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to join them 
and to join me in opposing this bill, and I thank the gentleman from 
California for the time.

                              {time}  1545

  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. LaMalfa).
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Speaker, as a Californian who lives in a very rural 
part of the State that is economically in huge pain, when I see an 
opportunity for people in rural America to prosper, to do well, I see, 
in H.R. 3905, again, this opportunity for the people in Minnesota.
  The MINER Act, introduced by the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. 
Emmer), will put it on the right track toward being able to extract the 
minerals that are needed for production of taking raw materials and 
making them into finished products here in the United States.
  This bill addresses a 230,000-acre mineral withdrawal from Superior 
National Forest in Minnesota, which, really, it is about jobs and 
economic growth, while also maintaining clear standards for all 
projects across the Nation.
  Indeed, this is a very narrow bill. It explores the possibilities, 
which is only a small step. Indeed, if mining was to occur, there is a 
litany of permits, years of process required to take that following 
step.
  Indeed, the arbitrary decision, the day before President Obama left 
office, halted a $400 million project, jeopardized 17,000 American 
jobs, cut $3 billion from K-12 schools, and slashed $2.5 billion 
annually from local governments and the State.
  These types of effects I feel in my own district where our industries 
have been taken away. Any time there is a proposal to do anything like 
that, whether it is timber harvest, mining, or whatever, you then hear 
about how the whole zone is pristine and unique, never been touched. 
These operations can happen environmentally correctly, environmentally 
soundly, and that is the standard for which we have in this country, is 
that we will do things correctly now, and we will put them back when we 
are done.
  Though a 20-year moratorium was imposed on the area, similar plans 
for mining have previously been approved by Congress twice. Mining 
operations across the country already commit to a strict environmental 
review process to ensure the public safety and the protection of 
natural resources, as we all expect. You mine an area under the strict 
guidelines, and you reclaim it.
  In most cases, mining companies must also put up bonds to pay for 
cleanup, sometimes for billions of dollars before a single shovel is 
ever turned. In this case, we are talking about exploration of the area 
to see what the potential is.
  This bill does not overturn existing Federal, State, or local 
environmental reviews. Instead, it ensures all projects are held to 
clear, consistent requirements, not arbitrary political decisions. 
Allowing politicians to prohibit one project or another, based solely 
on a whim, goes against American ideals of fairness and equal 
opportunity.
  These minerals are essential to our economy. To those claiming that 
mining will damage the environment, I would ask you this: Where would 
you prefer that these minerals come from? Do you want the mining to 
occur here in America, under these kinds of strict guidelines, bring 
American jobs to the front; or do we want to do it elsewhere in the 
world, places like China and others that have little respect for the 
environmental process or review or operations that are sustainable?
  I think we should have it here. Where would you have us get our 
minerals? Where would you have us get the rare earth materials that are 
needed for production of new technologies?
  H.R. 3905 protects Minnesota's economy, schools, and State budget; it 
protects the rule of law; and it protects the domestic access to these 
important materials and minerals we need to have our economy get 
stronger--a very narrow scope; it is sound legislation and sound 
policy.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge swift passage of this important legislation.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Paulsen).
  Mr. PAULSEN. Mr. Speaker, I want to speak in opposition to this 
legislation, and here is why: it threatens Minnesota's Boundary Waters 
Canoe Area; it stops the scientific environmental review that is going 
on right now; it weakens the Antiquities Act; and it singles out 
Minnesota's national forests as not being allowed the same 
environmental protections that national forests in every other State 
receive.
  Now, northern Minnesota has a rich history of taconite mining. But 
the mine that is being proposed on the doorstep of the Boundary Waters, 
America's most-visited wilderness, is a massive copper-sulfide mine, 
something we have no history of in Minnesota. It would threaten some of 
the cleanest and most pristine water and lakes in the country.
  Today, there is a 2-year review going on of the mining leases to 
analyze the risks of copper-sulfide mining in the watershed of the 
Boundary Waters. It is based on science. It is supported by Secretary 
Perdue. It is supported by Secretary Zinke. And I should note that 
Secretary Zinke is supporting a similar review of a proposed mine in 
Montana that borders Yellowstone National Park.
  But this bill halts that scientific review and automatically grants 
the leases for the mine. If this becomes law, Minnesota's land and 
water would be singled out as not worthy of the exact same 
environmental review and protections that exist in every other State in 
the country.
  It carves out a special exemption for Minnesota from the Antiquities 
Act, which has been used on a bipartisan basis by 16 Presidents as a 
conservation tool to protect America's history for future generations. 
And why should the land and history in Minnesota be less worthy of 
protection?
  There are the public comments from more than 100,000 people, Mr. 
Speaker, that would be tossed aside.
  Mr. Speaker, the Boundary Waters is Minnesota's Yellowstone. Hundreds 
of thousands of people canoe and fish

[[Page H9506]]

there annually every year. It is a national treasure.

  Some of the best memories of my life have taken place in the Boundary 
Waters as I grew up or, now, with my daughters. We owe it to future 
generations to understand the impact that copper-sulfide mining poses 
to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area; and that is why I am voting ``no'' 
on a bill that undermines science and puts Minnesota's water at risk.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Arkansas (Mr. Westerman).
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. 
Gosar), my friend and colleague, for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3905, the Minnesota's 
Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act, or the MINER Act. 
This act does not remove or reduce the permitting requirements should a 
future project ultimately be developed in the Superior National Forest.
  But nearly a year after President Obama's departure from the White 
House, I stand before this body to speak in favor of a bill that would 
rectify an injustice placed upon Minnesotans by the previous 
administration.
  As we have heard throughout this debate, on President Obama's last 
day in office, the previous administration pulled such a politically 
motivated stunt that appears more as a thumb-in-the-eye of hardworking 
Minnesotans than sound policy.
  Without a second thought, and one stroke of his pen, President Obama 
proposed withdrawing over 200,000 acres from future mineral exploration 
while, simultaneously, rejecting a renewal application for a hard rock 
mining operation that had been renewed in 1989 and 2004, without 
controversy.
  This decision endangered thousands of jobs. These are good-paying 
jobs that are significantly higher than the median average wage in 
Minnesota and the United States. Additionally, that decision could 
devastate the State's permanent school trust fund that will support 
nearly 900,000 K-12 students statewide if the withdrawal application 
and canceled leases are not rejected. At a time when it is vital that 
our teachers and students are given the resources they require, it 
would be foolish to allow this to take place.
  Some may ask why a Member from Arkansas would care about this 
decision. It is close to 1,000 miles away from my district to the 
Superior National Forest. The answer though is twofold, and it is 
simple.
  The first, it restores Federal land management oversight back to 
where it belongs, the United States Congress. H.R. 3905 will prevent 
executive order overreach by requiring congressional approval of all 
mineral or monument withdrawals within National Forest System lands in 
Minnesota and reverses the unwarranted action taken under the Obama 
administration to unilaterally block responsible mineral development in 
the Superior National Forest.
  Secondly, as someone who represents communities, counties, and 
schools that depend on the safe, responsible harvest and mining of our 
natural resources, I understand the real devastation that will take 
place, not only in Minnesota, but possibly in my district and other 
areas across the country if H.R. 3905 is not passed.
  Mr. Speaker, for the protection of our constitutional system of 
checks and balances, and preservation of rural economies, I believe 
that it is vital that we pass this piece of legislation. I encourage my 
colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 3905.
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a letter from 53 bipartisan 
Minnesota State legislators, a letter from Jobs for Minnesotans, and a 
letter from the Minnesota Pipe Trades Association.
                                                November 27, 2017.
     Congressman Tom Emmer,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congressman Emmer: As elected leaders of the Minnesota 
     Legislature, we are writing in strong support of H.R. 3905. 
     This legislation supports jobs, economic development and 
     industry in Northeast Minnesota, and will reverse an onerous, 
     overreaching and politically-motivated decision by the Obama 
     Administration that withdrew nearly 240,000 acres of federal 
     lands and minerals from potential development. H.R. 3905 will 
     halt these last-minute land withdrawals, reinstate leases 
     affected by that decision including the Twin Metals' lease, 
     and require congressional approval for any future withdrawal 
     actions.
       The decision by the Obama Administration last January put 
     jobs and nearly $2.5 billion of our state's economy at risk. 
     Furthermore, it risked the depression of the precious metals, 
     technology, infrastructure and manufacturing industries in 
     our state, and the economic well-being of Northeast 
     Minnesota--a region where mining has been an economic anchor 
     since the late nineteenth century. And that's not to mention 
     the estimated four billion ton deposit of copper, nickel, and 
     other strategic minerals located within the Duluth Complex 
     which could generate as much as $3 billion in royalty 
     revenues for the state's Permanent School Trust Fund--
     resources that would support education for nearly 900,000 K-
     12 students across the state.
       H.R. 3905 also reaffirms our shared commitment to the 
     protection of our environment and support of a thorough and 
     proper environmental review process for the mineral leases, 
     as well as upholds our state's commitment to restricting 
     mineral development in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area 
     Wilderness and Mine Protection Area.
       The expansion of the precious metals mining industry offers 
     generations of Minnesotans thousands of good-paying jobs, 
     billions of dollars in investment in industry, and billions 
     of dollars in revenue for Minnesota schools. Moreover, it 
     provides an incredible opportunity to further establish our 
     nation's economic and energy independence from foreign 
     nations. The decision to remove vast amounts of federal land 
     from potential development and blocking the Twin Metals' 
     federal mineral lease renewal was short-sighted and damaging. 
     H.R. 3905 has our bipartisan support, and it is our sincere 
     hope that it will become law for the well-being of our state 
     and its citizens.
           Sincerely,
       Rep. Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House; Rep. Joyce Peppin, 
     Majority Leader Leader; Rep. Dan Fabian, Environment 
     Committee Chair, House District 1A; Sen. Bill Ingebrigtesen, 
     Environment Committee Chair, Senate District 8; Rep. Pat 
     Garofalo, Jobs and Energy Committee Chair, House District 
     58B; Sen. Jerry Newton, Senate District 37, Legislative 
     School Trust Commission; Rep. Julie Sandstede, House District 
     6A, Legislative School Trust Commission; Sen. Paul Gazelka, 
     Majority Leader; Sen. Tom Bakk, Senate District 3; Rep. Chris 
     Swedzinski, Mining and Outdoor Recreation Chair, House 
     District 16A; Sen. David Tomassoni, Environment Committee 
     Ranking Member, Senate District 6; Rep. Rob Ecklund, 
     Assistant Minority Leader, House District 3A; Rep. Sandy 
     Layman, House District 5B, Legislative School Trust 
     Commission; Rep. Dale Lueck, House District 10B, Legislative 
     School Trust Commission; Sen. John Hoffman, Senate District 
     36, Legislative School Trust Commission.
       Rep. Brian Daniels, House District 24B; Rep. Brian Johnson, 
     House District 32A; Rep. Rod Hamilton, House District 22B; 
     Rep. Sondra Erickson, House District 15A; Rep. Bob Gunther, 
     House District; Rep. Steve Drazkowski, House District 21B; 
     Sen. Justin Eichorn, Senate District 5, Legislative School 
     Trust Commission; Rep. Jim Nash, House District 47A; Rep. 
     Jason Rarick, House District 11B; Rep. Mary Franson, House 
     District 8B; Rep. Jon Koznick, House District 58A; Rep. Paul 
     Torkelson, House District 16B; Rep. Tony Albright, House 
     District 55B; Rep. Bob Dettmer, House District 39A; Rep. Josh 
     Heintzeman, House District 10A; Rep. Kathy Lohmer, House 
     District 39B; Rep. Linda Runbeck, House District 38A; Rep. 
     Bob Loonan, House District 55A; Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, House 
     District 18B; Rep. John Poston, House District 9A; Rep. Cal 
     Bahr, House District 31B.
       Rep. Cindy Pugh, House District 33B; Rep. Roz Peterson, 
     House District 56B; Rep. Barb Haley, House District 21A; Rep. 
     Deb Kiel, House District 1B; Rep. Matt Dean, House District 
     38B; Rep. Dean Urdahl, House District 18A; Rep. Tama Theis, 
     House District 14A; Rep. Steve Green, House District 2B; Rep. 
     Matt Bliss, House District; Rep. Mike Sundin, House District 
     11A; Rep. Dave Baker, House District 17B; Sen. Mary 
     Kiffmeyer, Senate District 30; Sen. Jerry Relph, Senate 
     District 14; Rep. Tim Miller, House District 17A; Rep. Mary 
     Kunesh-Podein, House District 41B, Legislative School Trust 
     Commission; Sen. Mark Johnson, Senate District 1; Sen. Paul 
     Utke 2, Senate District.
                                  ____



                                         Jobs for Minnesotans,

                                                    Nov. 22, 2017.
     Re In Support of MINER Act.

     Hon. Erik Paulsen,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congressman Paulsen: I'm writing on behalf of 
     legislation described below but wanted to let you know I had 
     submitted a request to meet in person, as I plan to be in 
     Washington the week after Thanksgiving. I hope you have time 
     to meet with me. Thank you for considering.
       On behalf of the coalition Jobs for Minnesotans, which 
     represents business, labor and communities across the state, 
     I am writing in strong support of H.R. 3905, the Minnesota's 
     Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act, known as 
     the MINER Act. This bipartisan legislation sponsored by 
     Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-6th) and co-sponsored by 
     Congressmen Collin Peterson (MN-7th), Jason Lewis (MN-2nd) 
     and Paul Gosar (AZ-4th) seeks to ensure the proper 
     consideration of future job growth and economic opportunity 
     in northeastern Minnesota by requiring congressional approval

[[Page H9507]]

     of any mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving 
     the National Forest System lands in the state. It also 
     provides for the renewal of certain mineral leases and 
     ensuring that future leases in northeastern Minnesota remain 
     valid and renewed as outlined by current law. H.R. 3905 is 
     currently before the House Rules Committee and is expected to 
     reach the House floor in coming weeks.
       H.R. 3905 leaves intact existing environmental review 
     processes and standards and restates Congress' prohibition of 
     any mining activity in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area 
     Wilderness (BWCAW) and surrounding protective buffer. As 
     such, it reaffirms long-standing Congressional intent in 
     management and development of critical minerals in Minnesota 
     and cuts bureaucratic delays in assessing responsible mine 
     project proposals.
       Unfortunately, federal agency actions in December 2016 
     jeopardized the economic future of the region by canceling 
     valid, long-standing federal mineral leases and withdrawing 
     235,000 acres of federal land in the region from future 
     mining development. This was contrary to the previous 
     directives by Congress in 1950 and again in 1978. In 1950 
     Congress made land available for mineral exploration and 
     development within the Superior National Forest (SNF) within 
     the Iron Range region. In 1978, while Congress prohibited 
     mining within the BWCAW and an adjacent protective buffer 
     zone, it also reaffirmed that mining should be allowed and 
     promoted in the remaining area of the SNF.
       The agency actions in 2016 would block the potential 
     creation of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in 
     economic growth, and billions more in revenues for 
     Minnesota's public schools through mineral development on 
     state school trust lands.
       H.R. 3905 aims to correct these injustices, which is why we 
     strongly urge you to cast your vote in support of it. Thank 
     you very much.
           Sincerely,

                                                   Nancy Norr,

                                                      Board Chair,
     Jobs for Minnesotans.
                                  ____

                                                    Minnesota Pipe


                                           Trades Association,

                                                November 28, 2017.
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative: On behalf of more than 9500 men and 
     women working in various piping related industries throughout 
     the state of Minnesota, I am writing to express our support 
     of H.R. 3905, Minnesota's Economic Rights (MINER) in the 
     Superior National Forest Act.
       On January 5, 2017, the previous administration proposed a 
     234, 328-acre federal mineral withdrawal of National Forest 
     System lands, for a 20-year term, within the Rainy River 
     Watershed in the Superior National Forest. The action 
     immediately placed this area off limits to development for up 
     to two years while the withdrawal is considered. The total 
     withdrawal application boundary spans 425,000 acres, 
     including 95,000 acres of state school trust fund lands.
       With this policy in place, Minnesotans lost their mineral 
     rights. Unable to utilize these natural resources, 17,000 
     jobs are at risk and roughly $2.5 billion of economic 
     activity is jeopardized. Many members of the Minnesota Pipe 
     Trades Association are depending on these jobs.
       The Minnesota Pipe Trades Association (MPTA) fully supports 
     the thorough regulatory process in place in the State of 
     Minnesota. It is our belief this process is adequate in 
     determining whether a project should move forward. or not.
       As a result, MPTA is in support of H.R. 3905, Minnesota's 
     Economic Rights (MINER) in the Superior National Forest Act, 
     and urge the immediate passage of this bi-partisan 
     legislation.
           Sincerely,

                                           David M. Ybarra II,

                                                        President,
                                Minnesota Pipe Trades Association.

  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Ellison).
  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I am most proud of 
is being from Minnesota. What a beautiful State that we have. People 
joke about how cold it is in the wintertime, but let me tell you, 
Minnesota is awesome all year round.
  One of the things that we are so proud of is the Boundary Waters. Mr. 
Speaker, look at this picture. This is no glossed-up photo. This is 
what it looks like. It is awesome.
  Back before I was in Congress, I was able to bring young people to 
the Boundary Waters who were court-involved. Mr. Speaker, one day a 
judge asked me: Hey, Ellison, come up here. You want to take some kids 
to the Boundary Waters?
  I said: Fine. I kept doing it for 5 years straight because I loved 
the place.
  Yet this bill will perhaps damage all that, all that beauty, that gem 
of our State, which not only is a beautiful place that needs to be 
preserved for people, but also is a job-generator. A lot of people earn 
good livings because of the Boundary Waters, and if we just do this, 
pass this bill, what it will do is jeopardize their livelihood and our 
crown jewel of our State.
  This bill will grant a mining company the right to build sulfide-ore 
copper mines along rivers and lakes that flow directly into the 
Boundary Waters. Sulfide-ore copper mining has never been done without 
polluting water, and thousands of communities and wildlife will be at 
risk.
  When you mine sulfide ore, water and air interact to create sulfuric 
acid. One leak or spill would contaminate substantial portions of the 
Boundary Waters, decimating wildlife and habitat, and destroying the 
livelihoods of so many Minnesota workers.
  The Boundary Waters, the waters of the Boundary Waters, are 
especially vulnerable to acid mine drainage because they lack a 
buffering capacity.
  This bill is a bad idea, and I urge Members to vote ``no.'' This bill 
will undermine core environmental laws, including the Antiquities Act, 
the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the National 
Environmental Policy Act.
  The Antiquities Act is a bipartisan conservation law to protect 
irreplaceable Federal lands, including in the Grand Canyon, Acadia 
Forest, Zion, Muir Woods in California, and the Olympic National Parks. 
If they undermine the Antiquities Act, what else is in danger? Well, I 
would say every national treasure of the United States.
  This attack on the Antiquities Act is an attack against our national 
parks and monuments, making this not only a Minnesota issue, but a 
national issue.
  This bill would permanently lock in all mineral leases on Minnesota's 
national forests by overriding two laws on mineral leasing in 
Minnesota's national forests that require Forest Service consent to any 
mining. They don't want to go around the regular process. They want to 
use Congress to short-circuit that process.
  If you have never been to the Boundary Waters, as I said, I urge you 
to go there. If you vote ``no'' on this bill, you will not just be 
protecting the Boundary Waters for yourself and people around all over 
the United States, you will be protecting it for your grandchildren.
  Much is said here about children and grandchildren. Think about the 
Boundary Waters when you think about the legacy that we are leaving our 
grandchildren and how H.R. 3905 would destroy and jeopardize that 
legacy.
  Economic analysis by Key-Log Economics shows that sulfide-ore mining 
on the Superior National Forest lands and the watershed of the Boundary 
Waters could lead to a loss of 5,000 jobs in tourism, 5,000 to 20,000 
jobs in the rest of the economy.

                              {time}  1600

  As people tout this bill as a job creator, it is a job destroyer. I 
would tell you that, if you are an outfitter or you are a wilderness 
guide or you are a forest ranger, your job is just as important as 
anybody else's. What this bill is saying is, no, your job is no good. 
Nobody cares about it. Only the mine companies' interests are 
important.
  We could stand to lose $1.6 billion in annual income and $500 million 
in reduction in private property values because of this piece of 
legislation.
  We shouldn't have to choose between a robust economy and a clean 
environment. We can and must have both. Saying ``no'' to this piece of 
legislation gives us a chance at both. Voting for it makes us pick one 
over the other, and not just economic interests, but certain 
interests--not everyone's.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Minnesota.
  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the 
extra time.
  Mr. Speaker, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are 
studying this issue, but the author doesn't want to wait for the study 
because he knows the study is not going to help. They just want to 
drive this mine straight through without doing the proper care.
  More than 126,000 Americans participated in the study and asked for 
protection of the Boundary Waters. Minnesota voters oppose copper 
mining near the Boundary Waters by more than 2 to 1, and 79 percent 
support the current study.

[[Page H9508]]

  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this. This is a 
bad bill. It is not good legislation, and the damage it will do is not 
Republican nor is it Democratic. It is American. Vote ``no.''
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Emmer), the originator of this bill.
  Mr. EMMER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for the additional 
time, and I recognize my esteemed colleague, the Representative from 
Minnesota, for his love of the Boundary Waters that we both share.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to address the Representative from California 
first on the claim that H.R. 3905 solely benefits a foreign mining 
company.
  I think you should ask the people of our State. You should ask a 
gentleman by the name of Dan Forsman, who, as a Minnesotan, has a 
family heritage of benefiting by mining in our State. He was recently 
ridiculed by environmentalists in The New York Times because, while he 
loves the place where he lives, he also wants to make a living in the 
place where he lives. There are several other companies exploring the 
area.
  Teck has nonferrous mineral holdings within the proposed withdrawal, 
the potential development of which would be greatly impacted by the 
withdrawal.
  Encampment Minerals, Inc., also has a nonferrous mineral holding 
within the withdrawal area and is awaiting Federal agency action on a 
submitted preference right lease application.
  Future expansion of the Northshore Mining taconite mine could extend 
into the withdrawal area and, thus, be impacted by the withdrawal.
  PolyMet has invested hundreds of millions on projects that will be 
negatively impacted by the proposed mineral withdrawal, one of which we 
voted on here last night.
  Further, the withdrawal proposal will seriously hinder the State's 
ability to seek mineral development of more than 90,000 acres of State 
school trust fund lands within the withdrawal area.
  Twin Metals is a Minnesota company and has been part of the 
northeastern Minnesota community for 10 years. The company has invested 
more than $400 million in project development activities, investing in 
new facilities in the city of Ely, providing local employment 
opportunities and supporting hundreds of local jobs in the 
construction, consulting, and contracting sectors. By the way, they 
also support all the outfitters, the wonderful businesses of tourism. 
Twin Metals has also contributed more than $320,000 to local 
philanthropic needs and organizations.
  Mr. Speaker, I would add that nothing in this bill alters any current 
environmental law or protection. The Antiquities Act, the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act, NEPA, and all the other laws still apply to 
Minnesota.
  At the end of the day, we are protecting the Boundary Waters, we are 
protecting the Superior National Forest, and we believe both the 
economy and tourism, the environment, can coexist in northern 
Minnesota.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California has 9\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot about jobs. Jobs, this is going to 
be great job creator, this mine. I just want to highlight, though, some 
of the very inaccurate numbers that have been tossed around today.
  The sponsor of the bill earlier today said that 10,000 jobs would be 
created. The majority's legislative analysis says that the bill will 
create 17,000 jobs, but that is not correct. That is not correct. Even 
the company behind the project doesn't claim that many jobs.
  In their May 2017 fact sheet, and this is the fact sheet for Twin 
Metals of Minnesota, they report that once operational, they will 
directly employ 650 people and ``will create an estimated 1,300 spinoff 
jobs in other industries.'' That is 1,950 jobs. That is good, but that 
is a long way and a far cry from 10,000 or 17,000 jobs.
  Let's also look at the down side. An economic study of the tourism 
industry in the region has shown that putting in a copper mine could 
result in the loss of nearly 5,000 direct jobs and up to 22,000 
indirect jobs.
  That is a terrible tradeoff, and that means that this mine is 
potentially a net job destroyer, not a creator.

  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to protect jobs and to oppose H.R. 
3905.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to make sure that my friends on the other 
side are aware of a simple fact, and that fact is very important in 
this debate: water flows downhill.
  They make a big deal about the fact that no mining would take place 
in the Boundary Waters, but how happy would you be if someone dumped 
millions of gallons of toxic waste just uphill from your home and said 
not to worry because they didn't dump anything in your house?
  These leases that we are talking about are right on the border of the 
Boundary Waters wilderness area. Take a look at this map. These red 
parts are the leases we are talking about. There is no gap. There is no 
buffer. Any acid mine waste from these leases will flow right into the 
Boundary Waters. There is no protection in this bill for the Boundary 
Waters. There is only terrible risk.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to remind everybody I am wearing a copper tie, 
and that is because I come from Arizona. We are known as the 5 Cs: for 
the cotton, for the climate, for the cattle, for the citrus, and for 
copper. It is a critical mineral.
  We have seen these displays here in the well this morning, diverting 
the public's attention about what truly is actually here.
  This is actually a cite to explain to people exactly the clear 
definition. Let's look at this.
  What you see in red and yellow, just like a light that you see red, 
stop; yellow, caution; green, go, the red is the Boundary Waters. The 
red is the Boundary Waters: no mining, no mining whatsoever. The yellow 
is a buffer.
  By the way, the only place in the United States in which a monument 
is surrounded by a buffer: no, don't proceed.
  They confused you with that map. This is where we are talking about, 
down in here, in the green area. It is not the Boundary Waters. The 
pictures you saw that were in the well so eloquently shown to us were 
of the Boundary Waters, not where the mining is going to take place.
  Let's dispel the rumors. Let's get back down to facts.
  Red, no mining; yellow, no mining; green, okay. But that is following 
rules. That is following all rules.
  Once again, just to remind folks back home that are watching, the red 
is the Boundary Waters. There is no mining in the Boundary Waters. The 
pictures you saw in the well are of the Boundary Waters. No mining 
occurs in the Boundary Waters.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight the overwhelming local 
opposition to a copper-sulfide mine right next to the Boundary Waters.
  A poll done earlier this year found that 59 percent of Minnesotans 
oppose copper-sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters. Seventy-nine 
percent support the existing 2-year study that the Forest Service is 
doing on this type of mining. Included in that 79 percent, 67 percent 
of Republicans support the existing 2-year study that the Forest 
Service is doing. We are not talking about a bunch of antimining 
activists. This is not them.
  The same poll found that, overall, Minnesotans support copper-sulfide 
mining in the State 43 percent to 33 percent. The people in the State 
of Minnesota know that there are right places to have these kinds of 
mines and there are wrong places to have these kinds of mines. The 
Boundary Waters are the wrong place. The people of Minnesota know it, 
the Forest Service knows it, and I hope that the Congress realizes it 
and knows it, too.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, the charge is Minnesotans strongly oppose mining near 
the

[[Page H9509]]

Boundary Waters, so let's go back, remind everybody back at home about 
the red. We are not talking about the red or the yellow in the previous 
document. Let's go through what we see.
  Minnesota's Democratic Governor was for mining in the area before he 
was against it. Several polls over the years consistently show strong 
support for copper-nickel mining in general and for allowing companies 
to explore and propose projects.
  In November of 2016, a poll of 400 registered voters in the Eighth 
Congressional District found, among other results, by greater than a 3 
to 1 margin, survey respondents support environmentally responsible 
mining in the region.
  By greater than 2-to-1 margins, respondents support the building of a 
new copper-nickel mine and believe copper-nickel mining can be done in 
an environmentally responsible way. They demand that. More than 60 
percent support an underground copper-nickel project, the Twin Metals 
mine.
  In October 2013, a poll of more than 600 registered Minnesota voters 
statewide found, among other results, a majority of voters, 56 percent, 
favor expanding Minnesota's mining industry.
  A plurality of voters, 48 percent, support expanding the nickel-
copper mining industry in the State.
  All mayors, State legislators, the county commissioners that 
represent the Iron Range region, and the area proposed for the 
withdrawal are pro-mining advocates. Fifty-three bipartisan State 
legislators, including leadership of both parties, have endorsed the 
bill and support the passage.
  Why is that?
  These aren't just your average jobs. They don't pay service wages of 
$20,000. These are $100,000 plus and, additionally, have benefits. 
Those are jobs that Americans sink their teeth into. That is what built 
America.
  Stay tuned. I am going to show you some other photos of how they 
really look at mining.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Minnesota (Ms. McCollum).

                              {time}  1615

  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. Mr. Speaker, I 
brought this poster to the floor earlier. I bring it again up here. 
This is the proposed area in which the Twin Metals mine has been 
looking at doing the sulfide-copper ore mining, which, as I pointed 
out, 92 percent of the mines have polluted water quality. All of them 
have had leakage or seepage. This is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area up 
here. We keep hearing about how it is just adjacent.
  Mr. Speaker, this is an underground corridor, and this is an 
underground corridor. This is a deposit. This is where all of the 
mining activity would take place.
  Mr. Speaker, I don't see how open water creates a physical boundary 
to stop pollution. The pollution will go up north of the Laurentian 
Divide, and it will seep and go into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, 
1,000 lakes, rivers, and streams. This is mining adjacent to a 
wilderness that will become forever polluted if this mine is to be 
built.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  This bill alters no current environmental laws or protections. Mining 
companies will still have to comply with the Clean Water Act, Clean Air 
Act, NEPA, and all State and Federal laws.
  In fact, the local communities--everybody wants clean water. These 
people actually live in the area. These local communities actually want 
mining in Minnesota. It results in cleaner water. This is actually a 
viewpoint of an actual mine site. This is a long time ago. This is a 
pit. What ends up happening is, they are very proud, because Minnesota 
is proud of their water.
  This picture is before, and this is after. Can you imagine local 
municipalities and towns lining up for this water? This is the cleanest 
water in Minnesota. This is how they will actually reclaim the water. 
This isn't me. These are the people from the area who gave us these 
photos. And if you want to see an in-depth video, go to YouTube and 
look up the video that the people back in this region put together. 
This actually shows you, this is clean water. This is where you have 
pristine fisheries. They line up for this water.
  There are no environmental hazards. Minnesota's mining industry has 
been proud of what they have actually built. Once again, before and 
after, it is an inconceivable difference.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume, and I would like the chairman to answer a question. That pit 
that the gentleman just showed us, is that a taconite pit or is that a 
sulfide pit in Minnesota?
  Mr. GOSAR. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.
  Mr. GOSAR. That is a taconite pit.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. We are not talking about taconite. We are talking 
about sulfide.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman is talking about this whole 
aspect, the gentleman is right, but it is about all mining. This isn't 
just about copper mining. This is about taconite and all other mining.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I would like to talk 
about that because of what type of mine this is. As has been pointed 
out, northern Minnesota has had a long history of mining, but the mine 
that we are talking about here is not like any other mine in the State. 
This is a copper-sulfide mine. These types of mines are notorious for 
generating acid mine drainage.
  As the Forest Service puts it: These mines are known worldwide for 
producing acid mine drainage that requires continuous management and 
perpetual water treatment.
  Even in the absence of a major spill, having this acidic waste 
chronically leaking into the environment will create a problem that 
will last for generations and may never be fixed.
  A study of 14 similar copper mines found that all but one had 
significant water quality impacts due to failures of the water 
collection and treatment systems from keeping the contamination from 
seeping out.
  As was pointed out by the opposition, the majority, most of these 
mines are in dry areas of the American Southwest where there is far 
less water that needs to be treated than in a very wet environment like 
northern Minnesota.
  The Forest Service also describes the specific threat that the 
Boundary Waters are under. They point out that there is ``a direct flow 
of water from these leases to the Boundary Waters, and that there is a 
high likelihood of acid mine drainage from these ores, and that the 
drainage from the mine is likely to be highly acidic.''
  Mr. Speaker, once the problem starts, it is nearly impossible to make 
it stop. This is a perfect storm for destroying the Boundary Waters, 
and it is not worth the risk.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the 
gentleman from California. Can the gentleman give me an example of a 
mine that he actually supports?
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. GOSAR. I yield to the gentleman from California.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I am here to say that there are many 
mines in the State of Minnesota that I do support, that are 
ecologically--that are protected, but this is a different mine. We are 
only talking about one type of mine.
  Mr. GOSAR. Reclaiming my time, once again, the gentleman can't 
identify a single mine that is permissible to the opposition.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California has 1 minute 
remaining.
  Mr. LOWENTHAL. Mr. Speaker, I think that we have made a very strong 
case that economically this does not make sense. It could potentially 
destroy the tourist industry. What makes Minnesota unique is the 
wilderness areas, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. There is a 
tremendous risk because there has never been this type of mining in 
Minnesota before.
  As was pointed out by the Forest Service, there is a very high risk 
of

[[Page H9510]]

acidic discharge, and that the mine will drain into the Boundary 
Waters. This is the wrong project at this time, and I urge a ``no'' 
vote.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  We have heard some other charges that H.R. 3905 changes five Federal 
laws for Minnesota's national forests. This bill alters no current 
environmental laws or protections. The Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act, NEPA, and all other environmental laws still apply to 
Minnesota.
  Let's go through this history. In 1950, Congress took action to make 
land available for mineral exploration and development within the 
Superior National Forest. Congress did. Then again, in 1978, Congress 
passed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act, a compromise that 
prohibited mining within the 1.1 million acre Boundary Waters; once 
again, the red area and the yellow. No mining.
  But again, it specifically authorized mining in the Superior National 
Forest, the green. Once again, red, no; yellow, no; green, go. But that 
is fulfilling all current legislative and environmental laws.
  The General Mining Act of 1872 that we heard about earlier governs 
most mining on Federal lands. However, in this case, it does not. It is 
the Weeks Act that controls projects in this area because they are 
located on acquired National Forest mineral leases on these lands. 
There are no indefinite agreements. They typically retain a 
nondiscretionary right--nondiscretionary right, once again--to renew 
every 20 years. The two leases for the mineral deposit in question 
began in 1966, were renewed in 1989, and again in 2004, without 
controversy.
  The MINER Act halts last-minute political mineral withdrawals by 
requiring congressional approval. Once again, the magical words are 
``congressional approval.'' The return to federalism--amazing--renews 
those two mining leases that were denied for political reasons under 
the same terms they were renewed twice previously and ensures any 
future mining projects will have to satisfy all existing environmental 
permitting requirements, including NEPA.
  These people demand that they do it in a righteous way. There is no 
digging right now. These are proposed. The Minnesotans whom I came up 
to visit, they happily shared their history and their area with me. 
They want it done right because they have to live with the 
consequences; not somebody who comes from Twin Cities once in a blue 
moon.
  Once again, let's go back. This is the Boundary Waters. This is what 
you have heard misrepresented all the way around. There is no mining 
going on in the Boundary Waters. There is no mining going on in the 
buffer area. Once again, no other buffer exists around a national 
monument except this. This is hallowed ground. Green, go.
  Now, it is also very unfortunate that we hear rumors going around 
from Members of Congress that the Department of the Interior actually 
is against this. That rumor is far from the truth. We just received an 
email from the Secretary of the Interior that they are not opposed to 
this bill.
  I include in the Record a list of over 150 groups, individuals, and 
community leaders who now want to be on record as supporting the lawful 
aspects of returning this back to the folks in Minnesota for mining.

                       Endorsements of H.R. 3905

       53 bipartisan state legislators (including leadership of 
     both parties); AFL-CIO International Association of Bridge, 
     Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 
     Union 512; Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona; ALLETE; 
     American Exploration & Mining Association; Americans for 
     Limited Government; Apache County (Arizona); Apache Sun Golf 
     Club; APEX; Arizona Association of Conservation Districts; 
     Arizona Cattle Feeders Association; Arizona Golf Association; 
     Arizona Pork Council; Arizona Liberty; Arizona State Rep. Bob 
     Thorpe; Associated General Contractors of Minnesota; AZ BASS 
     Nation; AZ Deer Association; The Bass Federation; Better in 
     our Back Yard; Cactus and Pine Golf Superintendents 
     Association supports H.R. 3905; City of Ely.
       Colorado Mining Association; Competitive Enterprise 
     Institute; Concerned Citizens for America (Arizona); 
     Conservatives for Property Rights; Dena Cordova Jack, 
     Executive Vice President, Mountain States Lumber and Building 
     Material Dealers Association; Global Minerals Engineering 
     LLC; Golden Vertex Corporation; Grand Rapids Area Chamber of 
     Commerce; Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce; International 
     Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 31; 
     International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49; The 
     Jamar Company; Jefferson County Commissioner Donald Rosier, 
     P.E.; Jobs for Minnesotans; Laborers District Council of MN & 
     ND; Laborers International Union of North America; Laurentian 
     Chamber of Commerce; Minnesota Building and Construction 
     Trades Council; Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; 
     MiningMinnesota; Minnesota Pipe Trades Association.
       Minnesota Power; Minnesota State Rep. Josh Heintzeman; 
     Montana Mining Association; National Mining Association; 
     National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; New Mexico Cattle 
     Growers' Association; New Mexico Federal Lands Council; New 
     Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.; North America's Building Trade 
     Unions; Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 589; Range Association 
     of Municipalities and Schools; Scott W. Yates, President, 
     Denver Lumber Co.; Shake Rattle & Troll Outdoors; Sulphur 
     Springs Valley Electric Cooperative; Twin Metals Minnesota; 
     United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America; 
     Water Resource Institute; Women's Mining Coalition; Yavapai 
     County Cattle Growers; Yavapai County Supervisor Board 
     Chairman Thomas Thurman; Yuma County (AZ) Chamber of 
     Commerce.

        Other Groups Supportive of Issues Addressed by the Bill

       62 bipartisan state legislators (including leadership of 
     both parties); Chair of the MN Permanent School Fund 
     Commission; Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Dale 
     Lueck, Chair of the Minnesota Legislative Permanent School 
     Fund Commission; Duluth Chamber of Commerce; Fairmont Chamber 
     of Commerce; Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce; Greater North 
     Dakota Chamber of Commerce; Iron Mining Association of 
     Minnesota; Laborers District Council of MN & ND; Lake County 
     Board of Commissioners; Metro North Chamber of Commerce; 
     Minnesota Association of School Administrators--Region 7; 
     Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; North Central States Regional 
     Council of Carpenters; Owatonna Chamber of Commerce; 
     Rochester Chamber of Commerce; St. Louis County Board of 
     Commissioners; Twin West Chamber of Commerce; Up North Jobs; 
     Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board; Willmar Chamber of 
     Commerce.

  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have remaining?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Arizona has 1\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, what transpired here was a travesty. As I 
outlined, historically, Congress dictated twice in a usual fashion this 
green area for go. They designed the Boundary Waters and a buffer area 
for protection.
  Once again, no Boundary Waters--you are being misled--no Boundary 
Waters are having mining. This is as clear as it gets. What ended up 
happening was in an illegal action by the President last year, or 
earlier this year, he wiped this away.
  This doesn't wipe away any environmental laws. What it does is, it 
returns it to the way it was. The way that it should be; the way that 
Congress dictated. Federalism, a return to the people in that State.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask everybody to vote for this bill and support this 
bill. I also ask everybody to go to a video that has been produced by 
the people in this iron-ore range to see exactly how the people of that 
area of Minnesota actually feel about it. It is magnificent.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate on the bill has expired.


                Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Grijalva

  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 2, line 19, strike ``and''.
       Page 2, line 22, strike the period at the end and insert 
     ``; and''.
       Page 2, after line 22, insert the following new 
     subparagraph:
       (C) shall have a royalty rate of not less than 16.66 
     percent.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 631, the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva) and a Member opposed each will 
control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, the American people are getting ripped off 
in this bill. The Chilean mining conglomerate behind this bill makes 
out like a bandit.
  They get two expired leases back, as well as exemptions from several 
key environmental laws that could be used

[[Page H9511]]

to stop any of their dreams of massive profits from a giant copper 
mine.
  The American people are the ones that are getting ripped off. This 
land is being given away for next to nothing. For the past 50 years, 
the leaseholder has been paying rent of $1 an acre per year. Think 
about that, $1 an acre per year, unchanged for 50 years. The American 
people are the landlords here. They are charging the Chilean company 
about $420 per month for 5,000 acres of prime land right next to the 
most visited wilderness area in the country.

                              {time}  1630

  I can only imagine how many hardworking Americans would desperately 
love to be guaranteed having only to pay $420 a month for their homes 
for as long as they want, particularly if their home was over 2 million 
square feet, as these leases are.
  But we are not talking about someone building a house here. We are 
talking about a giant, destructive copper-sulfide mine that threatens 
one of the greatest unspoiled natural spaces in the country, the 
Boundary Waters Wilderness. Don't be fooled by the claims that the 
Boundary Waters are protected in this bill. They are not even remotely 
protected.
  Copper-sulfide mining results in acid mine drainage, the same kind of 
pollution that comes from abandoned coal mines and has destroyed 
thousands of miles of streams and rivers throughout Appalachia. Acid 
mine drainage from these leases would flow into the Boundary Waters 
into a neighboring Canadian wilderness and into Voyageurs National 
Park. This would permanently impact millions of acres of lakes, rivers, 
fish and wildlife habitat, and risk the entire tourism and recreation 
economy of the region.
  The majority says it is all worth it because of all the money that 
will flow into the State's coffers and be used for education. Give me a 
break. The only education benefit from this legislation would be 
children learning the chemistry of how acidic water flows out of mines, 
the biology of dead fish, and the economics of a shattered tourism and 
recreation industry.
  But if the majority is truly concerned about the amount of money that 
a destroyed wilderness can bring to the State, they should be 
embarrassed by the sweetheart deals in these leases: $1 per acre per 
year and a royalty of 4\1/2\ percent on production. These numbers are 
absurd. These rock-bottom prices effectively subsidize a foreign 
company to mine on public lands right next to an irreplaceable 
wilderness.
  My amendment would make sure that the company would pay a royalty 
rate of just over 60 percent because that is the same rate that Senator 
Murkowski has determined that companies should pay for oil that would 
come from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If that is the cost of 
destroyed wilderness in the Arctic, then it should be no cheaper to 
destroy wilderness in Minnesota.
  With the extra billions of dollars the State receives from the more 
reasonable royalty rate, perhaps they could fund education and also 
help all the owners and employees of tourism and recreation companies 
that would be put out of business by a giant copper mine.
  To be clear, I will not support H.R. 3905 even if this amendment is 
adopted. But Members should be given the opportunity to demonstrate 
that they don't believe that a foreign mining company should be allowed 
to get public land and public resources at rock-bottom rates and out in 
the West for free.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support the taxpayers, support 
my amendment, and oppose the underlying bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Arizona is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, in July, the Subcommittee on Energy and 
Mineral Resources heard all about how royalties, if ill-constructed, 
serve only to disincentivize investment in self-sufficiency and 
increase our reliance on imported critical minerals.
  This amendment is a hallmark example of such a poorly designed 
royalty. This amendment doesn't specify what the royalty will be 
applied to, when in the mining process it will be assessed, and it 
doesn't even have a cap, for that matter. This amendment is just a 
thinly veiled means to prevent this important mining project from 
getting off the ground. The author actually stated that in his 
comments.
  Mr. Speaker, I oppose this amendment. I ask all Members to vote 
against it, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just close by saying that this precedent being 
set here with H.R. 3905 is a precedent that I think every Member of 
Congress needs to consider.
  The backdrop is a mining law of 1872 that has not been changed one 
iota since then that basically provides the public resources, the 
extraction of our public lands for free to any company and more 
prevalent now are foreign mining companies. No return to the taxpayer 
and no consequences considered on the environmental damage that these 
mines have caused, the abandoned mines that haven't been cleaned up.
  This is a backdrop to a deeper and more serious problem that this 
Congress has to grapple with, which is the mining law of 1872, and on 
this piece of legislation a precedent that establishes a template that 
can be destructive for the future and cut the public and the processes 
out that involve the public and safeguard the environment at the same 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge a ``yes'' vote on the amendment, a ``no'' vote on 
the underlying legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, once again, we may want to go back to misinformation. 
This does not pertain to the Mining Act of 1872. In fact, this is under 
the Weeks Act, which controls projects in this area because they are 
located on acquired natural forest land. Mineral leases on these lands, 
though not indefinite agreements, typically retain nondiscretionary 
right for renewal every 20 years.
  The two leases for mineral deposits in question began in 1966, were 
renewed in 1989, and again in 2004 without controversy.
  I would also like to take the opportunity to go through a number of 
groups that actually are against this amendment and endorse the bill.
  Fifty-three bipartisan State legislators from the State of Minnesota 
are for this bill: ``As elected leaders of the Minnesota Legislature, 
we are writing in strong support of H.R. 3905. This legislation 
supports jobs, economic development and industry in northeast 
Minnesota, and will reverse an onerous, overreaching, and politically 
motivated decision by the Obama administration. H.R. 3905 has 
bipartisan support, and it is our sincere hope that it will become law 
for the well-being of our State and its citizens.''

  A second one from the Range Association of Municipalities and 
Schools:

       The results of the withdrawal and a potential 20-year 
     moratorium would have a devastating impact on the financial 
     support for our statewide public school system and future 
     generations of Iron Rangers who would be employed in any 
     future mining developments. It has been estimated that within 
     20 years of mining for precious metals, our Permanent School 
     Trust Fund would reap nearly $3 billion in royalties if 
     allowed to go forward. The Miner Act does not infringe or 
     restrict these very strenuous and stringent environmental 
     review processes, and we emphasize there will be no mining in 
     the Boundary Waters or the buffer zone specifically 
     surrounding the Boundary Waters.

  Let's go to the next one from the American Exploration & Mining 
Association: ``H.R. 3905 will eliminate delays, return to good 
stewardship of fair process and restore the opportunity to explore 
strategic metals critical to our economy and national security in one 
of the richest mineral deposits in the Nation. . . . The emerging 
mining industry is an investment in the future well-being of our State 
and Nation; without this legislation, that future is at risk.''
  Here is another one from the Competitive Enterprise Institute: ``The 
bipartisan H.R. 3905 is a welcome reassertion of congressional 
authority over public lands. Article 4 of the Constitution vests 
Congress--not the President--with plenary power over public

[[Page H9512]]

lands. Members on both sides of the aisle should take umbrage at 
President Obama's lameduck machinations to withdraw from the multiple-
use framework more than 230,000 acres of public lands in Minnesota--
with the mere stroke of a pen. By treating public lands regulation as a 
means to build a Presidential legacy through midnight regulation, the 
previous administration flouted the spirit of participatory and 
inclusive lands-use statutes as designed by Congress. Lawmakers should 
correct the course by passing the excellent H.R. 3905.''
  Finally, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota:

       H.R. 3905 changes no environmental review processes, 
     relaxes no environmental standards, and specifically restates 
     Congress' prohibition on any mining activity in the Boundary 
     Waters and surrounding protective buffer areas. H.R. 3905 
     would reaffirm longstanding congressional intent that 
     actually espouses that this area be designated for mining and 
     timber sales.

  Mr. Speaker, I ask everybody to vote against this amendment, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gallagher). Pursuant to the rule, the 
previous question is ordered on the bill, as amended, and on the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva).
  Pursuant to clause 1(c) of rule XIX, further consideration of H.R. 
3905 is postponed.

                          ____________________