Federal judge deals another blow to Minnesota copper-nickel mine proposal
A federal judge in Minnesota has dealt another blow to the proposed copper-nickel mine that has been the subject of intense environmental opposition. Judge Joan Ericksen dismissed a lawsuit by Twin Metals Minnesota over the Obama-era decision to deny the company the ability to renew key leases on public land for the mine. The ruling was a significant victory for environmental groups who oppose the project, which has the potential to irrevocably damage the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas in the country. In her decision, Judge Ericksen rejected Twin Metals Minnesota's argument that its existing mineral leases should have been renewed, saying that the Obama administration had acted within its discretion and was not obligated to renew the leases. The ruling is another setback for Twin Metals Minnesota, which has been trying for years to build the mine in the wilderness. The Trump administration had granted the company's permits and the lawsuit was seen as a last-ditch effort by the company to move forward with the project. However, the future of the project remains in limbo, as environmental advocates continue to fight against its construction.