• September 17, 2014

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area

As I have aged, one saying that I have become fond of is, “You can never make new old friends….” Our lives are transient. Our friends and family are forever (as far as we are concerned).

For many of us, there is a similar transcendent nature to our planet’s natural resources and, in particular, to irreplaceable areas of pristine untrammeled nature. Once it is gone, it is gone.

So no one should be surprised by the level of passion that many of us feel about protecting Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).

A fight’s been on-going since August 2006 before U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.) about snow-mobiling, noise and the BWCA. A hearing on Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment is scheduled for 10/6/2014 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 1 (Duluth) before Judge Tunheim.

I do not envy the challenge facing the court of deciding this difficult question.

On the other hand, as set out in Plaintiffs’ reply brief, the court’s decision would appear to hinge on questions of procedure, statutory interpretation, and administrative law — overseeing the conduct and decision-making process of a federal agency — and not simply the court’s taking sides in this hard-fought battle between environmentalists on one side and snow-mobile enthusiasts on the other hand (with the federal government agency stuck in the middle).


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