St. Paul, Minn. (Nov. 30, 2017) – Jobs for Minnesotans today released the following statement in response to two important pieces of legislation passing the U.S. House this week. Both pieces of legislation – H.R. 3115, the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act, and H.R. 3905, Minnesota’s Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act (“MINER Act”) – support the future of job creation and economic growth in Minnesota.
“Jobs for Minnesotans is grateful to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted in favor of H.R. 3115 and H.R. 3905, and in particular the champions of each bill, Rep. Rick Nolan and Rep. Tom Emmer, respectively. We are also thankful to Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, for his steadfast support of Minnesota mining.
These bills protect fair process for multiple mineral development projects that have the potential to create thousands of jobs, plus approximately two additional jobs created in other industries for each mining job. We applaud this positive momentum in support of our crucial natural resource industry. A way of life for future generations of Minnesotans depends on our country’s commitment to timely, predictable and transparent regulatory processes at all stages of project development. We are thankful for these recent actions to support economic development and national security, and we hope for similarly positive outcomes as these bills move through the U.S. Senate.”
About Jobs for Minnesotans
Jobs for Minnesotans, a coalition representing business, labor and communities, supports statewide opportunities for prosperity and middle-class jobs from sustainable natural resource development in Minnesota. The organization is committed to the principle that our state can preserve both job opportunities and the environment for future generations. Jobs for Minnesotans was co-founded in 2012 by the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council representing 55,000 workers and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representing 2,300 companies and 500,000 employees. For more information, visit jobsforminnesotans.org, follow @JobsforMN on Twitter and find the coalition on Facebook.com/Jobs4MN.
Media Contact: Nancy Norr, Chair
The U.S. House of representatives this week has approved a bill that would allow PolyMet Mining Corp. (PLM) to exchange land to accommodate its NorthMet project, pending approval by the Senate.
House members also approved legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mark Emmer. It addresses the federal government’s reluctance to renew mineral leases sought by Twin Metals Minnesota.
Steve Giorgi, Kyle Makarios and Nancy Norr
Minnesota is not only one of the most beautiful states in the nation, it is also home to one of the world’s largest deposits of copper, nickel and other strategic resources. These are the minerals that give us technologies and devices required for modern life — indoor plumbing, electricity, cars, planes, smartphones, computers, wind turbines and solar panels. Without the mining of these precious metals, none of these items would exist and our daily lives would look much different.
Unfortunately, some would rather see these jobs and economic benefits outsourced to foreign countries with fewer environmental and worker protections and regulations. They refuse to accept that we can work towards a better way of life for our children and preserve our state’s scenic beauty at the same time. They would like you to believe that a haphazard, overly expansive ban on future development is the only option.
Mesabi Daily News
Passage of the bill in House marks a major milestone for the PolyMet project, which needs the land exchange to allow the Army Corps. of Engineers to weigh in on the project, effectively ending the federal hurdles for the long-awaited open pit copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes.
The land exchange, which was approved by the Obama administration, swaps more than 6,5000 acres with PolyMet and provides the federal government with more wetlands, public access lands, lakeshore and more. It does not approve the PolyMet project, Nolan stressed on the House floor Tuesday, but it does clear the way for the project in one respect, after more than 10 years of environmental review.
“It’s very exciting,” Nolan said “It’s going to put a lot of people back to work in the mines. The success of this long, drawn-out PolyMet process is being watched by a lot of people around the country and around the world.”
The bill needs a companion in the U.S. Senate to advance, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has volunteered to carry the bill in the upper chamber, Nolan said. Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., were early supporters of the land exchange bill, citing that the agencies had already signed off on it.
Duluth News Tribune
“There’s a responsibility no matter where you mine to do it correctly and appropriately and to protect the environment,” [PolyMet CEO Jon] Cherry said. “I am 100 percent confident we’ll be protective of the St. Louis River watershed and Lake Superior and downstream. I think you could actually take our design and put it anywhere and be just as protective of the environment.”
“Our employees at PolyMet, they live here, they work here, they raise their families here, they want to recreate here. Who has a more vested interest in making sure this is done correctly?” Cherry asked. “There’s demand for all this metal. We have a chance to develop it responsibly here. I don’t think there’s anyone in here who doesn’t want clean air, who doesn’t want clean water.”