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CALL TO ACTION: NCAI Asks Tribes to Urge Congress Not to Transfer Federal Lands to PolyMet in the National Defense Authorization Act

June 13, 2018

This week, the senate will consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was amended to include a provision to fast-track the transfer of 6,650 acres of federal lands to PolyMet –a Canadian mining company– to expedite its mining activities near Lake Superior. NCAI Passed resolution MKE-17-007, Protecting Chippewa Lands and Resources from the Threats Posed by PolyMet Mine, which opposes the underlying principles of this land transfer.

As a result, today NCAI submitted a letter opposing this provision to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. NCAI urges tribes to immediately submit similar letters stating their opposition to this provision. 

The proposed PolyMet mine is located within the Aboriginal territories in which the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa hold treaty-reserved rights to hunt, fish, and gather. The lands also encompass traditional cultural properties, historic resources, and sacred sites, and are crossed by two major rivers that flow downstream to waters within the Reservation of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

In addition, the potentially affected lands are located adjacent not only to Lake Superior, the world’s largest fresh water lake, but also the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, America’s most–visited wilderness area. PolyMet’s proposed mine could result in the destruction of up to 8,000 acres of wetland within the watershed of Lake Superior – the largest wetland destruction ever considered for permitting by the Army Corps of Engineers.

For more information, contact Derrick Beetso, NCAI Senior Counsel at (202)630-0318 ordbeetso@ncai.org

Last modified: June 13, 2018