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Report: Trump's daughter, son-in-law renting from Twin Metals owner

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump walk along the colonnade ahead of a joint press conference by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and her father, U.S. President Donald Trump, at the White House in Washington, U.S., Feb. 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law are renting a house from the Chilean family that owns the Twin Metals copper mining project proposed near Ely, according to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal.

The report said Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a Washington home owned by Chilean billionaire Andronico Luksic, whose family controls Antofagasta, the Chilean global mining giant that owns a 100 percent interest in the Twin Metals project.

The ties come just as Twin Metals is suing the U.S. government to overturn a moratorium on access to U.S. Forest Service land where it wants to mine near the Kawishiwi River and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Obama administration in December ruled that the area was too sensitive to withstand potential water pollution from a copper mine, a decision that — if it stands — would scuttle the Twin Metals proposal.

Twin Metals had already sued, anticipating the decision. And now the Trump administration is being asked to overturn the Obama administration decision.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump and Kushner are renting from Tracy DC Real Estate Inc., which bought the house for more than $5 million in December. The company is controlled by Luksic, who also controls Antofagasta.

A spokesman for the Luksic family told the Wall Street Journal that Trump and Kushner are paying fair market value for the home and that the rental agreement was coincidental to Antofagasta's effort to move forward with the Twin Metals project. The Luksic family owns 65 percent of Antofagasta, a so-called controlling interest.

A U.S. Forest Service public meeting on the moratorium on mining near the BWCAW and its effect on Twin Metals is set for March 16 in Duluth.

Becky Rom of Ely, national chair for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, said the Wall Street Journal report "raises a simple question: Are Minnesotans — and our elected leaders — willing to cede control over our beloved Boundary Waters to a Chilean billionaire landlord to the Trump family? ... Antofagasta's long history of pollution is no secret, but we now know the lengths to which they will go to curry favor with the Trump administration in order to enrich their foreign executives at Minnesota's expense."

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