The Stream, January 28, 2022: Leases For Minnesota Mine Cancelled By Biden Administration


  • Water taps at a South Africa primary school run dry amid an ongoing water shortage in the country’s Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
  • A recent study discovers PFAS chemicals in popular brand name products sold around the world.
  • The U.S. EPA issues a directive to Jackson, Mississippi officials to upgrade the city’s water infrastructure.
  • British Columbia will update its climate adaptation strategy to include measures protecting waterways and drinking water supplies.

The Biden administration cancels Trump-era lease renewals for a controversial mining project in Minnesota.

“The Boundary Waters are a natural treasure that is simply too important to risk — and the costs for people and wildlife too steep.” – Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. The Biden administration cancelled two lease renewals for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. The move reverses an order from former President Donald Trump, which declared a national emergency over the country’s reliance on imported metals. Biden’s decision to cancel the leases comes after a decision last October to move forward with a study that could lead to a 20-year ban on mining upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

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Students at South African Primary School Sent Home After Taps Run Dry

Students at a primary school in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province were sent home early this week after the school’s taps ran dry. Schools and households across parts of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have gone without water for more nearly two weeks. Water supplies for the municipality are running low. Officials say water levels at the municipality’s major reservoir dropped just under 19 percent last weekend.

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A recent study found that nearly 75 percent of popular brand name products labeled stain- or water-resistant contained PFAS chemicals. The study analyzed a total of 60 products from brands like Alpine Design and Patagonia sold at large retailers like Amazon, REI, Target, and Walmart.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order to the city of Jackson, Mississippi directing city officials to outline a plan to upgrade its aging and overwhelmed drinking water within 45 days. EPA Administrator Michael Regan also urged city and state officials to use nearly $79 million in federal funding to resolve longstanding water access issues throughout the state. The move comes as part of a renewed effort by the agency to address environmental injustices in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

On the Radar

British Columbia’s government announced this week that officials will develop a new climate adaptation strategy after drought, floods, and wildfires plagued the province last year. The strategy will include focus areas like safe drinking water, healthy ecosystems, ensuring a sufficient supply of water to support food security, as well as reducing risks from extreme weather.

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