Trump reversed Obama-era environmental protections in favor of his daughter's landlord.
The Trump administration has reversed a decision against granting a Chilean conglomerate the rights to build a copper mine near pristine Minnesota wilderness.
The conglomerate, Antofagasta, is controlled by the family of Andrónico Luksic, the billionaire who owns the Washington, D.C., home currently being rented by Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. Antofagasta was investigated in 2016 for allegations that it bribed an official in the Chilean government.
"The administration worked at a high level to remove roadblocks to the proposed mine, government emails and calendars show, overruling concerns that it could harm the Boundary Waters, a vast landscape of federally protected lakes and forests along the border with Canada," the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Trump's flip-flop was a reversal of pro-environment decisions made by the Obama administration. In 2016, the Obama administration opposed copper-mining leases sought by Antofagasta, a decision that protected the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
"The Boundary Waters is a natural treasure, special to the 150,000 who canoe, fish, and recreate there each year, and is the economic life blood to local business that depend on a pristine natural resource," then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
Under Trump, the Forest Service called off an environmental review that could have restricted the mine. The Trump administration also restored leases for the mine that the outgoing Obama administration had declined to review.
Luksic bought a $5.5 million property in Washington, D.C.'s, high-end Kalorama neighborhood in December of 2016, just a few weeks after Trump won the election. A month later, as Trump was being inaugurated, his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared, moved in to Luksic's home.
And a few months later, while his company lobbied the Trump administration and he provided a home for Trump's daughter, the billionaire got what he wanted.
Trump's decision in favor of his daughter's landlord has been slammed by residents of the Boundary Waters region.
"It is now more clear than ever that the Trump Administration is steamrolling the American people and allowing a foreign mining company to write the rules when it comes to America’s most popular Wilderness," said Tom Landwehr, Executive Director of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, in May.
Engaging in corruption is simply what Trump and figures around him like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner do.
The Antofagasta episode combines Trump's hostility to environmental concerns with yet another of his family's corrupt connections, endangering nature and financial livelihood in a key American region.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.