Former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr will lead the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, a consortium of some 35 conservation groups headquartered in Ely, Minn. Landwehr will become the group's executive director.
“We are thrilled to have Tom as executive director,” the group's chairperson, Becky Rom, said. “He is the right person at the right time to lead our campaign to protect America’s most popular wilderness from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining.”
A large sulfide-ore copper mine has been proposed adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, threatening the area, according to Landwehr.
“The Boundary Waters is the most threatened public land in America,” Landwehr said in a statement. “My jaw dropped when I first learned of the Twin Metals project because of its proximity to the Boundary Waters, the Kawishiwi River system, Birch Lake and adjacent to my favorite wilderness entry point. We wouldn't dig a huge mine next to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, and we shouldn't dig one next to the Boundary Waters.”
Landwehr added the Trump Administration is attempting to ensure the Twin Metals project becomes reality by "concocting dubious legal schemes.''
“Federal agency leadership in D.C. are ignoring laws and policies in order to push this project through,” Landwehr said. “Those laws and policies are intended to protect people and the environment, and I simply can't stand by and watch that.”
Landwehr served eight years as DNR commissioner under Gov. Mark Dayton. He also was an assistant state director with the Nature Conservancy and before that worked for Ducks Unlimited.
He teaches part-time at the University of Minnesota, and was a Shoreview City Council member 1995-2002.