Mesabi Daily News
Ask us what we think of Twin Metals, and we will tell you that mining needs to be done correctly so that it doesn’t harm our natural resources. Where would we be without our mines? Where would we be without our forests? Where would we be with out our pristine lakes, in the land of 10,000 lakes?
Our federal government needs to allow an environmental review to be conducted on Twin Metals to determine if there is a potential to hurt our Boundary Waters. Don’t just cast the whole project aside on unsubstantiated “what ifs.”
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is ours. It is where we live, it is the water we drink, it is where we expose our children to all the wonders of nature. We would never put any of that at risk. We understand the importance of providing for our children and their children — part of that is to provide them with safe natural resources and jobs for the future.
There is no doubt that we all want to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is an undisputed national treasure, and we’re fortunate that it is in our own backyard. That said, anyone implying that potential mining activities would destroy this pristine area shows a lack of understanding of the strict existing environmental and regulatory protections at the state and federal levels.
Twin Metals Minnesota, the company for which the federal government denied renewal of its mineral leases, has yet to even propose a project. The federal leases in question have been in place for more than 50 years and have been twice renewed by the federal government without controversy and with acknowledgment that the leases pose no adverse environmental impacts.
St. Paul, Minnesota (Jan. 13, 2017) – Jobs for Minnesotans released the following statement in response to action taken by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to start the process to withdraw 234,000 acres of federal land and minerals in northern Minnesota from future leasing and exploration and development activities:
“Jobs for Minnesotans is extremely disappointed with today’s filing of a Federal Register notice to begin the withdrawal process of 234,000 acres of federal minerals from future development in Minnesota. As we stated when the Obama administration announced its arbitrary and unprecedented decision to pursue mineral withdrawal on Dec. 15, 2016, this action sends a chilling message to hardworking Minnesotans who need the widespread economic benefits of mining in our state.
Threatening to halt future developments in this vast region will cause the state to lose billions of dollars in potential revenues that support K-12 education across the state, as well as thousands of prospective jobs from future mining projects and associated spinoff employment. This action is devastating news for the economic wellbeing of our state.
The withdrawal of federal minerals from future development is unnecessary and unlawful. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has strict protections in place within its boundaries as well as buffer zones surrounding it where mining is prohibited. Pursuing mineral withdrawal ignores the established process for the public to evaluate mining projects on their merits. This is a process Minnesotans and many leading lawmakers have expressed support for countless times, including in a letter to the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior earlier this week.
Federal agencies are continuing to ignore the voices of those most affected by this drastic decision. Conducting one public meeting in Duluth is highly disrespectful to the Ely and Iron Range working families and communities who are most affected by these actions. Minnesota’s labor, business and community leadership will not stand down. We will make our voices heard.”
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
Mesabi Daily News
A bipartisan group of Minnesota legislators, including the state’s majority and minority leaders, wrote a letter to federal officials Wednesday criticizing the decision to deny the renewal of leases for Twin Metals Minnesota.
The letter, signed by 62 legislators, calls for Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reconsider and reverse actions taken in December. It also asks them to “refocus your agencies on the proper task” of reviewing mining projects under past federal processes and not make “politically-driven” decisions.
International Falls Journal
Congressman Rick Nolan
In a major step toward creating hundreds more good paying jobs in our region, the U.S. Forest Service announced this morning that they have finally agreed to the land exchange necessary for PolyMet to move ahead, access the NorthMet copper-nickel deposits and begin mining under the vast lands known as the Duluth Complex.