Two state conservation groups have organized a rally at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the State Capitol rotunda in response to news last Wednesday that the Trump administration has officially renewed federal mineral leases for copper mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, which is hosting the rally with Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, encouraged the public to attend and petition lawmakers.

"All Minnesotans who want to protect the Boundary Waters will stand together Wednesday at the Capitol in defense of America's most-visited wilderness,” said Lukas Leaf, the sportsmen's group executive director, in a statement. “We need leadership from our elected officials to take action to defend the BWCA." 

Twin Metals Minnesota wants to build a copper-nickel mine operation about 9 miles southeast of Ely. The move by the U.S. Interior Department last Wednesday allows Twin Metals to open its formal permitting process for state regulatory approval.

Mining proponents say the operation would be a benefit to the northern Minnesota economy and national security.

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