Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum has described a Trump Administration response to her concerns regarding pollution in the Boundary Waters as the quality "of a grade school-level book report."
The 4th District representative requested a comprehensive State Department report into the potential for water pollution on both the Minnesota and Canadian side of the Boundary Waters that could be caused by sulfide-ore copper mining
A direction for the State Department to produce the report was made by the House Appropriations Committee at McCollum's request, and was signed into law as part of the federal budget approved by President Trump.
But Thursday, McCollum said the "report" she received was only eight paragraphs in length.
"The State Department’s eight-paragraph response would be excellent for a grade school-level book report, but as a report to Congress it is an embarrassingly inadequate document.
"It embodies the Trump administration’s insulting disregard for science, and fails to acknowledge the need to protect Canada’s waters from toxic cross-boundary mining pollution."
McCollum goes on to express hope that the Canadian government will now pressure the Trump Administration to publicly release the short "report," as she's not permitted to due to House rules.
The House Appropriations Committee's request comes amid efforts by Twin Metals to open a copper-nickel operation near the Boundary Waters, a development backed by the Trump Administration, which last year approved a 10-year mining lease on the federally owned Superior National Forest.
McCollum has proposed a bill in Congress that would permanently ban mining on the 234,000-acre area of the forest, which had previously been put under temporary protection under the Obama Administration.
McCollum wanted the State Department to produce a comprehensive study into the "hydrology, impact, mitigation, and bilateral implications of acid mine drainage polluting Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park," via northeastern Minnesota's Rainy River Watershed.
Her criticism has been backed by the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, whose executive director Tom Landwehr said it's an example of the government's "rush to ruin the Boundary Waters to benefit an international mining conglomerate with a terrible environmental and labor record."
"The amount of effort this Administration is putting into selling out the Boundary Waters should raise red flags with every Minnesotan and American who cares about our special places.
"The Administration has unlawfully resurrected a terminated project, cancelled and hidden data from a critical study on the impact of sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness, threatened to shut down the government rather than agree to a bipartisan budget provision to complete the study, and now are blowing off a report to the Canadian government on the threat of potential pollution from the mine. We have to ask - what are they hiding?"
BMTN has reached out to the State Department for comment.