Conservation Minnesota

Day 2: Sawbill Canoe Outfitters to Finland

The costly side effects of Sulfide Mining

Frank Moe recaps day two of his 350-mile sled dog adventure to raise awareness about sulfide mining pollution. Keep tabs on Frank’s progress by following Conservation Minnesota on Twitter, Facebook, or on our website.

“While the snow slowly melts out in the open areas, as we run through the woods, the snow remains deep and more is coming down. The dogs seem to have figured out that this is not just a training run, and they are showing more and more energy as they realize that we are going to be on the trail for a while. Today’s run from Sawbill Outfitters to Finland Heritage Center was a relatively easy 36 mile length, and right on schedule we met up with David and Amy Freeman who ran their team of dogs down from Ely. Along with petitions of support from Ely, Dave brought with him a sample from a sulfide mining test site that shows that even in a small test, sulfuric acid has already leaked into the Boundary Waters.

The leakage from the test site shows that even in a very controlled experiment, the mining proponents are unable to prevent pollution that endangers our very way of life in northern Minnesota. Acid Mining has never been done safely anywhere in the world, and yet the push is on to allow this poorly concocted chemistry experiment to proceed on the very shores of our most sacred natural resource, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In Wisconsin they tried to do this type of mining, and they are still dealing with a superfund site that they have been unable to restore to its pre-mining condition. They passed a law there saying that before any other acid mining could proceed, there would need to be evidence that it has been done safely elsewhere. That provision was enough to stop them in their tracks. Or, more accurately, to send them west to a state that has yet to require the same level of security before allowing acid mining to proceed.

I plan on using the contaminated sample as a paper weight to sit atop our pile of petitions that we deliver to the governor from people throughout the region who see the threat acid mining poses and oppose reckless mining in this state.

Tomorrow morning we will have a pancake breakfast send off at the Clair Nelson Center in Finland, with Jennifer Burnett, John Beargrease’s great-great granddaughter. Everyone is invited to stop by between 9 and 11 to sign the petitions, say hi, meet the dogs and give us a send-off to our next leg which will take us into Duluth.”

Frank’s Dog Spotlight:

“Ben is a bit of an ornery pup who especially enjoys fighting with his brother Jake. But he also has a softer side, especially for trail hand Mark Luttinen who is running the support truck on this trip. Just about every stop earns Mark an affectionate face washing from Ben.”

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