ELY, MN -- Proposed federal legislation could have significant ramifications on the proposed Twin Metals mine in northern Minnesota.
Five US lawmakers, including Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota's 4th District), introduced the bill, dubbed "Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act" on Tuesday.
The legislation would ban copper nickel mining within the 220,000 acres of Superior National Forest and within the Rainy River Watershed.
Opponents of copper-nickel mining say it's toxic to the environment.
"Rep. McCollum's legislation is a necessary step to protect Minnesota's crown jewel and one of America's great national treasures," said Tom Landwehr, Executive Director of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters.
In a statement on Wednesday, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota's 8th District) called the legislation "harmful".
"I will fight this attempt at killing mining jobs in my district every step of the way. I'm confident that, with the support of the Trump Administration, our way of life will prevail," Stauber said.
Twin Metals, owned by Chilean-based mining company Antofagasta filed its formal plan to mine in that region in December.
The proposed legislation would not impact the PolyMet copper nickel mine or taconite and iron ore mining.