Robins Kaplan Achieves Major Win in Boundary Waters Pro Bono Case

September 7, 2023

Robins Kaplan LLP is pleased to announce a significant victory on behalf of its client, Friends of the Boundary Waters, in its campaign to prevent Twin Metals copper-nickel mine from developing a $1.7 billion sulfide mining project on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). 

Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed Twin Metals’ lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Interior’s cancellation of its mineral leases along the edge of the Boundary Waters, its rejection of its mining plan of operations, and denial of its preference right lease applications in other nearby areas that were withdrawn from mineral exploration. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia allowed the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and several other environmental groups and recreational businesses to intervene as defendants, granting their motion to dismiss Twin Metals’ case in its entirety.

“This decision is a victory for Minnesota’s ecological crown jewel and an important milestone in ending a grave threat to the Boundary Waters,” said partner Stephen Safranski, counsel to the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. 

Protected by federal law for more than 100 years, the BWCAW is the largest wilderness area east of the Rocky Mountains. It is renowned for its water quality and provides an abundant habitat for thousands of species of wildlife, including three threatened or endangered species, and offers opportunities for ecological studies and exceptional wilderness experiences. The National Geographic Society recognized the BWCAW as one of the planet’s “50 Places of a Lifetime.”

Robins Kaplan attorneys Richard AllynBryan Mechell, and Eric Barstad also represented the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness in this case.

Stephen P. Safranski


Co-Chair, Antitrust and Trade Regulation Group

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