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Forest Service Conducting Public Input Process – Mining Supporters Must Take Action

The United States Forest Service (USFS) recently announced that it may try to block the renewal of two federal mining leases for Twin Metals Minnesota in northeast Minnesota and prevent all future mining opportunities in the Rainy River Watershed from moving forward. This is despite the USFS’ previous support for these lease renewals in 1989 and 2004 when the agency stated that the leases had no adverse environmental impacts (additional background on these leases is available here). Not only would blocking these renewals result in detrimental effects to Minnesota’s mining industry in general, it would also leave thousands of jobs for our future generations at risk.

To make its decision, the USFS is conducting a 30-day public input period June 20 through July 20, 2016, to receive comments from the public on this topic. The USFS should follow the formal and well-established environmental review process for mining projects set forth under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Environmental aspects of projects should be studied under the thorough, multi-agency, science–based Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process that is required by NEPA after a specific mining project is proposed.

As a Minnesota coalition representing businesses, middle class workers, labor, local governments and many others, we support a strong regulatory process. It is not appropriate to address the USFS’ speculative and hypothetical environmental concerns under the normally routine federal mineral lease renewal process. When we see regulators straying from the process, we need to stand up and have our voices be heard.

Show your support below by July 20 and join us on Wednesday, July 13, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to support a process that protects our livelihoods and environment for future generations.


TO: The U.S. Forest Service

RE: Support for Renewal of Twin Metals’ Federal Mineral Leases

I support the renewal of Twin Metals’ federal mineral leases in northeast Minnesota. The leases should be renewed and Twin Metals should be allowed to develop a mine project proposal for review following the formal and well-established environmental review process for mining projects set forth under the National Environmental Protection Act.

Environmentally responsible mining throughout the Iron Range offers generations of Minnesotans the promise of thousands of good-paying jobs, billions of dollars in investment in the region, and billions more in revenue to Minnesota schools through the Minnesota Permanent School Fund. The potential USFS action to withhold consent for lease renewal would have a devastating impact on the region’s economic future.

Thank you.

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Our state holds a tremendous economic opportunity right beneath our feet. We encourage you to get involved and:

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…for job creation by joining Jobs for Minnesotans

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…about why you support responsible mining

Jobs for Minnesotans is a coalition of organizations brought together and committed to advancing one common goal, job creation in Minnesota. Co-founded by the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Jobs for Minnesotans consists of organizations that represent Minnesotans: businesses, middle class workers, labor and local governments among others.

Working together through this coalition, business and labor hope to inform Minnesotans about the enormous opportunity to create thousands of jobs while revitalizing Minnesota’s economy. This opportunity is the development of strategic metals mining (copper, nickel, platinum and palladium), which – combined with the state’s rich heritage in iron mining – can significantly increase jobs and economic development for the state.