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