St. Paul, Minnesota (Jan. 26, 2023) – Jobs for Minnesotans released the following statement in response to action taken today by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to enact the withdrawal of 225,000 acres of federal land and minerals in northern Minnesota from future leasing and exploration and development activities:
Jobs for Minnesotans is outraged by the federal government’s irresponsible and arbitrary action today which replaces the review of specific and detailed mining project proposals with a generic 20-year mining ban in the region.
At the same time, the Biden Administration has set ambitious timetables to advance the clean energy transition which relies on critical minerals. Closer to home, Governor Walz and the Minnesota legislature are advancing legislation to achieve 100% carbon free energy by 2040.
“This action begs the question: why doesn’t the government have confidence in its own agencies’ ability to review proposed specific projects?” asked David Chura, chair of Jobs for Minnesotans.
“Ultimately, this sends a chilling message to hardworking Minnesotans who need the widespread economic benefits of mining in our state,” said Adam Duininck, vice chair of Jobs for Minnesotans and director of government affairs for North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters.
This action sends an even harsher message to the business community that they cannot expect fair treatment in Minnesota or the United States. It sets a precedent that will have a devastating impact to all responsible industries looking to get a fair project review.
Halting resource development 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. If this decision were based on science, the administration would rely on studying a site-specific project proposal. Every mine proposal is unique and specific to its leases, location and mining methods. Every geological deposit the proposal sits on is different.
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 70,000 workers and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representing 2,300 members and 500,000 employees. For more information, visit jobsforminnesotans.org, follow @JobsforMN on Twitter or LinkedIn and find the coalition on Facebook.com/Jobs4MN.