Note: This bill never became law. This highly controversial bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.


Oberstar Bill

    Indigenous Environmental Network Fact Sheet                        Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Fact Sheet

            Petition to oppose HR 4292/S 3411                                        Friends Action Alert on HR 4292/S 3411

     Petition (Individual) to oppose HR 4292/S 3411                                Coalition Alert Letter on HR 4292/S 3411


Alert on HR 4292/S 3411: Superior National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 2007-2008


                                 Link To HR 4292 Bill      House and Senate companion bills        Link To S 3411 Bill
      This bill  would require the sale of 6,700 acres of Superior  National Forest public land to a Canadian mining company for a strip mine.  It would circumvent current public environmental review, appeal and agency protections!
      HR 4292/S 3411    mandates the sale of approximately 6,700 forested/wetland acres of Superior National Forest land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), to PolyMet, Inc., a Canadian company hoping to open the first metallic sulfide copper strip mine in Minnesota. The U.S. Forest Service owns the surface rights to the land, but not the mineral rights.  The underlying purpose of this bill would be to benefit the mining company by eluding steps in the standard land exchange process which includes public comment and environmental review.  

                                                    PolyMet Mining's proposed NorthMet site


                                                                    Click on image to enlarge 

                                    Click to see map of Mineral Ownership of the Superior National Forest

                              Click to see map of Superior National Forest Surface and Subsurface Ownership



  Articles and Op-Ed's 

      StarTribune  Op-Ed       Carolyn J. Sampson: An extraordinary incursion of the public forest -A mining company would like to operate in Superior National without the usual reviews. Three leaders would like to pave the way.  

      MinnPost article by Ron Way   Hoyt Lakes land-sale plan erupting into clash of titans

      Voyageur Sentinel 23 August 2008 - 3 Op-Ed by Bill Arthur    PolyMet land sale editorial: Deciding what is best. Trust, lust and disgust in the run-up to a Minnesota non-ferrous metals mine

     Minnesota Public Radio, article by Bob Kelleher     PolyMet land deal upsets environmental groups.  Some environmental groups are upset with a plan to sell Superior National Forest property to a mining company. Opponents say Congressman Jim Oberstar's bill to allow the sale would circumvent environmental laws to benefit a special interest: PolyMet Mining Corporation.


                     Progressing with land transfer before completion of the environmental process

      According to HR 4292/S 3411, the U.S. Forest Service would be required to sell 6,700 acres of public land to PolyMet before completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is contrary to the  National Environmental Policy Act (1969) and negates the purpose of the EIS, which is to allow for disclosure of environmental impacts of an action and for public input.  There is an existing process for the Forest Service to exchange lands with private companies but exchange takes place after review that is open to the public in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement.  This bill would circumvent that existing process.

      The forced sale would be conducted without the normal public input and without environmental review of the land exchange. This is a separate requirement from the mine plan review and is contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act(NEPA).   No administrative appeal of the sale is allowed under HR 4292/S 3411, disregarding public input by specifically denying appeal of the outcome.

     This bill would also require that the U.S. Forest Service assume the responsibility for wetland replacement.


                    Special favors for mining companies

      This legislation is a special favor for the benefit of a single Canadian mining company.This bill would bypass existing law and the normal process by which National Forest land is transferred to private entities through a proven land exchange process, which requires environmental review and verification that the swap is in the publics interest. The mining company controls the mineral rights of this land, but the Forest Service owns the surface rights. The Forest Service says it cannot allow a strip mine on this forestland because of the environmental protections that currently protect the forest, water and wildlife located there. Because PolyMet's plans call for a massively destructive open pit strip mine, PolyMet needs to privatize the USFS land before its plans for a copper strip mine can go forward.

     The U. S. Forest Service owns less than half of the mineral estate in the Superior National Forest and in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Likewise, the Forest Service lacks mineral rights to many of its lands nationwide. This bill, if passed, could set precedence for the sale of public lands to private mining companies across the country. It would also open the doors for more than a dozen other mining companies who are currently exploring the Duluth Complex of rocks throughout Minnesota and other sulfide mineral deposits in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These sulfide-bearing rocks encompass an area that extends underneath the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and between Voyageurs National Park and Lake Superior, before dipping down into the southern part of the state.

                    Ignoring potential harm to the environment

       The main purpose of this bill is to remove long standing environmental review and protections from public lands. This legislation would create a precedent by which the Superior National Forest could sell public lands each time a mine gets close to the permitting phase. This act relieves the Forest Service of their responsibilities to protect public lands in Minnesota. This could become a justification elsewhere; each time a federal land agency chooses to ignore its mandated management responsibilities in order to rapidly facilitate mining operations. Passage of HR 4292/S 3411 would set a precedent for the sale of public lands to mining companies across the nation where the Forest Service does not own the mineral rights to its lands. Particularly, it would pave the way for the sale of public lands throughout Minnesota's Arrowhead Region.

      At the same time that a bill designed solely to help PolyMet bypass existing environmental and public disclosure law is being circulated through the halls of Congress, PolyMet is downplaying the potential effects of acid mine drainage. Sulfuric acid is a byproduct of metallic sulfide mining and in all previous mines required perpetual treatment of any affected watershed.

      PolyMet spokesmen claim their company is "following all of Minnesota's environmental laws." HR 4292/S 3411 seems contradictory to this statement.

        Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman have introduced a companion bill in the Senate!

                   Action requested Concerned citizens need to contact their U.S. representative, and Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman in opposition to HR 4292/S 3411. Citizens can request an explanation from Rep. Oberstar, Senators Klobuchar and Coleman regarding the intention of this bill to circumvent current environmental law, to sell public land for private investment, and to ignore opportunity for public input as part of the environmental impact statement process.

                  We need to convince them that this bill should not be supported in any version.  You can help today by contacting your elected representatives, your newspapers, as well as both of the Senate leaders listed below. 


                                    Primary Contacts;  

                       Contact Senate leadership:

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Energy Committee: (202) 224-5521

Sen. Tom Harkin, Agriculture Committee: (202) 224-3254


Contact Minnesota's elected officials:

Rep. James Oberstar: (202) 225-6211

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: (202) 224-3244

Sen. Norm Coleman: (202) 224-5641


                                    Senator Amy Klobuchar                     phone:   (202) -224-3244   

E-Mail at Website:

Web site:  

Toll Free: 1-888-224-9043

302 Hart Senate Office Building                               
Washington, DC 20510
phone: 202-224-3244
fax: 202-228-2186

1200 Washington Avenue South, Suite 250
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Main Line: 612-727-5220
Main Fax: 612-727-5223
Toll Free: 1-888-224-9043

1134 7th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901
Main Line: 507-288-5321
Fax: 507-288-2922

121 4th Street South
Moorhead, MN 56560
Main Line: 218-287-2219
Fax: 218-287-2930

Olcott Plaza, Suite 105
820 9th Street North
Virginia, MN 55792
Main Line: 218-741-9690


                                   Senator Norm Coleman                    phone:   (202) -224-5641     


Web site:

Washington Office:
320 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-5641
Fax: 202-224-1152
Scheduling: 202-228-1503

Minnesota Office in St. Paul:
2550 University Ave W, Suite 100N
St. Paul, MN 55114
Main: 651-645-0323
Fax: 651-645-3110
Toll Free: 800-642-6041

Minnesota Office in Mankato:
12 Civic Center Plaza
Suite 2167
Mankato, Minnesota 56001
Main: 507-625-6800
Fax: 507-625-9427

Minnesota Office in Grand Rapids:
200 Northbank Center 206B
Northeast 3rd Street
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Main: 218-327-9333
Fax: 218-327-8637

Minnesota Office in Moorhead:
810 4th Avenue South
Suite 203
Moorhead, MN 56560  



                                Representative  Jim Oberstar          phone:   (202) -225-6211     


Web site:


D.C. Office
2365 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-6211
Duluth Office
231 Federal Building
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 727-7474
Chisholm Office
City Hall, 316 Lake St.
Chisholm, MN 55719
(218) 254-5761
Brainerd Office
City Hall, 501 Laurel St.
Brainerd, MN 54601
(218) 828-4400
North Branch Office
38625 14th Ave., Ste. 300B
North Branch, MN 55056
(651) 277-1234



                               Governor Tim Pawlenty           phone:   (651) -296-3391     

Web site:



To contact Governor Tim Pawlenty and Lt. Governor Carol Molnau, please write, phone, fax or e-mail.

Mailing Address:

Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

Other ways to reach our office:

Telephone: (651) 296-3391
Toll Free:    (800) 657-3717
Facsimile:   (651) 296-2089



                                                       Contact Congress  




First District
Congressman Timothy J Walz(DFL)

Washington, DC Office:
1529 Longworth HOB
Washington DC 20515
ph: (202) 225-2472
fax: (202) 225-3433

Manakato Office:
227 E Main St
Suite 220
Mankato, MN 56001
ph: (507)388-2149
fax: (507) 388-6181

Rochester Office:
1134 7th St NW
Rochester, MN 55901
fax: (507)206-0650

Web site:


Second District
Congressman John Kline (R)

101 E. Burnsville Parkway, Ste 210
Burnsville, MN 55337
Fax 952-808-1261
1429 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Fax 202-225-2595

Internet e-mail:
Web site:


Third District
Congressman Jim Ramstad (R)

1809 Plymouth Rd S, Suite 300
Minnetonka, MN 55305
Fax: 952-738-9362
103 Cannon House Office Bldg
Washington DC 20015
Fax: 202-225-6351

Web site:


Fourth District
Congressman Betty McCollum (DFL)

165 Western Ave N, Suite 17
St. Paul, Minnesota 55102
Fax: 651-224-3056
1029 Longworth House Office Bldg
Washington DC 20515
Fax: 202-225-1968

Web site:


Fifth District
Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL)

2100 Plymouth Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55411
Phone: (612) 522-1212
Fax: (612) 522-9915
1130 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4755
Fax: (202) 225-4886

Web site:


Sixth District
Congressman Michele Bachmann (R)

6043 Hudson Rd
Suite 330
Woodbury, MN 55125
Phone: 651-731-5400
Fax: 651-731-6650

412 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2331

E-mail: }
Web site:


Seventh District
Congressman Collin Peterson (DFL)

714 Lake Ave Ste 107
Detroit Lakes MN 56501
Fax: 218-847-5109
320 S Fourth St, Centre Point Mall
Willmar, MN 56201
Fax: 320-235-2651
Minnesota Wheat Growers Bldg
2603 Wheat Dr
Red Lake Falls MN 56750
Fax: 218-253-4373
2159 Rayburn House Office Bldg
Washington DC 20515
Fax: 202-225-1593

Web site:

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