St. Paul, Minn. (Feb. 5, 2020) – Today, Jobs for Minnesotans board member Jason George, from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, testified in front of the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources opposing the proposed H.R. 5598 legislation.

“This bill bans mining before there is even an opportunity to study an actual project proposal,” George testified. “We can’t let fear lead us to recklessly shut the door on opportunity without knowing the facts regarding specific projects.”

If enacted into law, this legislation would close access to one of the largest undeveloped copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metal deposits in the world without due process and with devastating effects on the economic and social well-being of northeastern Minnesota.  

George also testified “I ask you to think about the people that actually live where these projects will be built. They want the opportunity to have state and federal agency experts review specific projects that are proposed and make their own decision as to whether they trust the project can be built safely.”

Jobs for Minnesotans also commends Representatives Stauber and Emmer for speaking against this bill today and fighting for due process under existing laws that have protected the environment in this region for decades.

Rather than advancing legislation that could have serious economic and security consequences, policymakers should have trust in and help facilitate the legal, well-established environmental review and permitting process for projects that will enable the United States to reduce its dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals.

Any proposed projects must of course meet stringent state and federal standards in order to move forward. Mining proponents should not be deprived of the opportunity to prove their ability to operate lawfully, safely and responsibly and follow the established, transparent, predictable and fair environmental review process long established under federal and state laws. Agencies long entrusted with orderly, science-based regulatory review under the law should not be supplanted by the forces of partisanship.

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, follow @JobsforMN on Twitter and find the coalition on


Media Contact: Nancy Norr, Board Chair