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Copper mining dangers: Bold leadership is needed from Walz

photo of st. louis river
Our water, be it at the BWCA or in Lake Superior, is our most vital resource and defines the livability not only of all the communities and tribes in the area but the Upper Midwest as well.

Imagine a mountain reaching a height of some 250 feet (almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty) containing wet sludge from an adjacent copper mine. Then add mercury and arsenic to this pile of waste and locate it just south of the Laurentian Divide in the basin of the St. Louis River, which flows into Lake Superior. One last addition: rain, and more so with climate change.

Most observers would quickly surmise that this is a prescription for disaster. Certainly, seepage or worse, a break, would occur and, ultimately, contaminate the river and Lake Superior.

But “no,” says state government. Tom Landwehr, who served as commissioner of the Department of Natural under Gov. Mark Dayton, declared that Minnesota has “extraordinarily rigorous environmental laws.” Those were the laws that were utilized in the permitting process for PolyMet.

Effects of PolyMet vs. Twin Metals?

Apparently, according to Landwehr, this process worked well for the PolyMet copper mining permit. However, he is now declaring that may not be the case for the Twin Metals mine, which would affect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). On the face of it, this would appear to be a serious contradiction. And it is.

Former Gov. Arne Carlson

MinnPost file photo by James Nord
Former Gov. Arne Carlson

What has changed? The answer — Landwehr’s job; he is now the executive director of the Campaign to Save The Boundary Waters. And save those waters from what? Copper mining, of course. 

We are led to believe that somehow mining contaminates flowing into the St. Louis River and Lake Superior are healthy, but when they move in the direction of the BWCA they become highly dangerous. We are further being told that the permitting process for the PolyMet mine was “rigorous,” but the same process is inadequate for the second mine.  

photo of article author
Janet Entzel
For the moment, let’s put aside the obvious hypocrisy and focus on the details of Landwehr’s March 19 Q&A with MinnPost, in which he says, “… the state permitting process … relates to environmental impact. So, it doesn’t look at economic, it doesn’t look at cultural, it doesn’t look at quality of life. It’s a very narrow prescriptive. It doesn’t look at health.”

This is truly frightening. According to my dictionary, environment means “the air, water, minerals, organisms, and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time.”

Interestingly, Landwehr offers no definition of what the permit review covered. However, it proves the point that if you torture a word long enough you can obtain whatever meaning you want. That is precisely what has happened here.

Clearly, a determination was reached that the PolyMet mining permit was to go through unimpeded and that directive had to come from the governor or the commissioners. Either way, the process was fatally flawed. To Landwehr’s credit, he is now alerting us. It is safe to assume that as the movement to preserve the BWCA gains steam, more will come out — including the likelihood that Dayton gave in to the Iron Range legislators on copper mining in gratitude for their support in the 2010 DFL primary.

What would Willard Munger do?

However, what is important here is to immediately set in motion a plan to bring back the PolyMet permits for review and place the entire review process on hold until this operation is properly functional. Perhaps the best model would be one that asks the question, “What would Willard Munger do?”

By way of background,  Munger was a legislator from Duluth who served as chairman of the Minnesota House Committee on Environment. He was gruff and blunt with a tenacious commitment to the environment. Neither political loyalty nor intimidation from a higher office would ever deter Munger. For some 30 years, he and PCA Commissioner Grant Merritt shaped our environmental policy and successfully took on the taconite industry.

Having served with Willard Munger in the Legislature, we suspect he would urge us to do the following:  

1. Direct the attorney general to institute legal action to halt the current mining operations until a thorough review of the permit process is completed and deemed to be thorough and protective of our total environment.

2. Review the recent mining disaster in Brazil, where a sludge dam similar to the one proposed for Minnesota broke, killing an estimated 200-300 people and destroying the area. This should also include the recent evacuation order that was issued by Brazilian authorities who fear another dam break.

3. Study the mining impacts which caused El Salvador to ban certain types of mining. It should be noted that there is a growing fear of serious shortages of drinking water due to contamination.

4. Direct the Legislative Auditor to conduct a thorough study on the following:

     a. A comprehensive health study utilizing the services of the Department of Health and the University of Minnesota.

     b. A thorough review of all phases of economic impact, including the issue of indemnification, job loss due to contamination, and all concerns that relate to long-term financial health.

A possible compromise

Since jobs are at the heart of this, a possible compromise would be for Gov. Tim Walz to transfer some state function to northern Minnesota. The state employs more than 36,000 people. The DNR alone has over 2,700 employees. Certainly, something along that line could be worked out rather than proceeding to destroy our state’s most precious physical resources.

Fortunately, on the national level, Rep. Betty McCollum is using her seniority most effectively to block irresponsible mining. And, increasingly, our new Rep. Dean Phillips is stepping up and assisting. Here, in Minnesota, state Rep. Alice Hausman has been a stout environmental supporter and is increasingly getting help from Rep. Jim Davnie.

But, more than anything else, competent and bold leadership is needed from the governor. We know the permitting process has been severely compromised. We must pause and review what happened. Our water, be it at the BWCA or in Lake Superior, is our most vital resource and defines the livability not only of all the communities and tribes in the area but the Upper Midwest as well. That area is entitled to a healthy economy and that can be established without building mountains of poisonous sludge that place our water supply in immediate danger.

Our prayer is that Gov. Walz will lead the call of prudence and act now.

Arne Carlson is a former governor of Minnesota (1991-1999). Janet Entzel served as a state representative from Minneapolis, 1974-84, and was assistant commissioner of the Department of Corrections, retiring in 1999.


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Comments (39)

  1. Submitted by Paula Maccabee on 04/01/2019 - 03:48 pm.

    Thank you for all the courageous elected officials and former elected officials who are willing to put Minnesota’s health, water, and sustainable communities first.

    • Submitted by Mark Bradley on 04/11/2019 - 11:30 am.

      I was somewhat confounded by one of the last lines in the article: “…preserve our precious natural resources” My definition of resources means products or materials which have an economic value. The wilderness, plants and animals have some economic value, hopefully more so in the future, but don’t the minerals ALSO have value? They are the resources in this scenario, but how can they be ‘precious’ if we are not willing to exploit them for their economic worth?

      I also find it hypocritical to sit down in your home made of wood or stone, metal and plastic, using a computer that is created using common and extremely rare resources, and complain that we want to save the trees, keep the minerals in the ground, and heaven forbid we should use fracking to harvest petroleum (the basis of the plastics industry).

      Nobody on this planet, certainly not in the developed part of the planet, has zero impact. Unless you are willing to go live in the forest naked and without harming a single plant or animal, you are being a hypocrite if you refuse ANY development or extraction. By ALL means let’s use the best available technology to do the work. Modern mines (in developed countries) comply with the strictest environmental planning and permitting. It takes a decade or more to open a mine for business, and that costs all of us. Do it right, but it HAS to be done unless we all move back to stone age times.

      Claiming anything else is just dishonesty.

  2. Submitted by Michael Miles on 04/01/2019 - 05:55 pm.

    Thank you for a great article.

    One thing that gets ignored is what lies in the path of a probable spill from this operation? The answer is ultimately Duluth. Since the operation is working within the St. Louis River Watershed, it ultimately enters Lake Superior via Duluth Harbor. While Duluth gets it’s water from Lake Superior, the intake area is not that far from possible spillage from the harbor.

    While all comment seems to place any possible disaster out in the wild where supposedly nothing will be affected, people do not appear to understand that pollution travels downstream and in this case to a populated area. A very large rainstorm, which is more and more common in the new climate, overcomes the proposed dam and pushes pollution all the way to Duluth, the city would become endangered.

    It would be a shame to see a wonderful city like Duluth, which in my opinion will grow demonstrably as the climate warms, destroyed by stupidity, greed, and pollution.,

  3. Submitted by Joanne Chabot on 04/01/2019 - 07:07 pm.

    This is brilliant. We must view protecting Lake Superior (and all of Northern Minnesota) as our top priority. Our future generations depend on us. We simply can’t afford a disaster, no matter how unlikely that might seem to some. As a former state employee, I can also safely say that far more than 3,600 current employees would raise their hand if given a choice to relocate up North.

  4. Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/01/2019 - 08:05 pm.

    I know the tide might turn when any NE MN realizes that in the words of the writers…..”….But, more than anything else, competent and bold leadership is needed from the governor. We know the permitting process has been severely compromised. We must pause and review what happened……” I remember being a part of a Humanities study group early in the first decade. We were studying steel asking at the origin point. The Polymet people came into to present to the group part of one day. Anyone with a who asked an incisive question or counterpoint was demeaned immediately even then by the industry reps or the three politicians who were there. That has been the tactic all along shove it down the public’s throat.

    • Submitted by Joe Smith on 04/02/2019 - 09:27 am.

      Where were there compromises in permitting process?

      • Submitted by Richard Owens on 04/02/2019 - 03:06 pm.

        I think the evidence is circumstantial. The paragraph that highlight the dissonance is well-crafted:

        “We are led to believe that somehow mining contaminates flowing into the St. Louis River and Lake Superior are healthy, but when they move in the direction of the BWCA they become highly dangerous. We are further being told that the permitting process for the PolyMet mine was “rigorous,” but the same process is inadequate for the second mine.”

        Mr. Blaise (below) predicts perpetual dissent with mining proponents, and sadly he might be right.

        “…As a frequent range visitor, a blanket denial of all mining expansion will result in an unending war between the pro and anti mining sides…”

        I still hope reasonable people will not be reckless with our most precious gifts of nature. Would anything change your mind, Joe?

        I still hope Polymet is stopped before the damage to both our discourse and our natural treasure is terminal.

  5. Submitted by John Helland on 04/01/2019 - 09:10 pm.

    Thanks for continuing to speak out on important issues, Governor Carlson. Willard Munger would be proud!

  6. Submitted by Bill Hansen on 04/01/2019 - 10:21 pm.

    …not to mention, that Glencore, the largest investor and owner of all PolyMet’s output, is frequently characterized as the most careless and corrupt corporation on the planet. Do we really want foreign oligarchs to be our hope for healthy, sustainable communities?

    • Submitted by Margaret Cullen on 04/03/2019 - 08:03 pm.

      No we do not. Our country is responsible for destroying other countries and now they are coming after ours. I have been against all this raping of the world. We only have one earth folks.

  7. Submitted by Richard Owens on 04/02/2019 - 08:52 am.

    The whole world is awash in ever-increasing deluge rainfalls.

    The summer in this year’s southern hemisphere has been one flooding disaster after another.

    The collapse of the Vale containment berm in Brazil destroyed an entire city and buried many of its people alive.

    Our last summer was one of excess rainfall followed by a winter of so much moisture the Pine Ridge reservation has 8,000 people who have no access TODAY to clean water, food and medicines.

    Nebraska farmers may not even get a crop this year due to floods.

    NO CONTAINMENT can withstand overflowing if enough rainfall happens fast enough.

    In 2012, from June 17th through June 20th record rainfall caused the biggest flooding event ever recorded in the City of Duluth and surrounding communities. Record rainfall totals were recorded between June 19th-20th, but this was on top of an already very wet May and June.

    Duluth still hasn’t been able to fix the millions and millions of dollars worth of damage to its city and infrastructure from that event.

    If Polymet proceeds, it seems likely there will be an event in which the entire St. Louis River watershed will be poisoned with acidic water killing all the organisms that comprise and support life in those waterways.

    All for money that will be spent and gone in a precious few years.

  8. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 04/02/2019 - 10:24 am.

    A recent article on mining in the American west began with this quote:
    “Firms mining metals dug up and dumped nearly 2 billion pounds of toxic waste in 2017. Experts say there’s not nearly enough money available to clean up the mess.”

    The more one learns of the mining industry not just in the US but globally, a universal pattern appears:

    -the industry misrepresents environmental safety of the project (this is on top of a long history of the mining industry abusing lax regulation, violating the public trust by fighting against sensible environmental regulation and fighting it in the courts, and plain lawbreaking when it doesn’t get its way)
    -exaggerate the impact on jobs and economic benefits
    -overpromise, underfund, and then neglect safety
    -state regulators, compromised and corrupted by pro-business bias, fail in their environmental stewardship duty
    -catastrophe ensues – streams, rivers, groundwater, lakes, wildlife are destroyed (who could have predicted?)
    -company goes bankrupt or fights responsibility for cleanup
    -the public is on the hook for the bill

    Meanwhile the overriding objective of the mining project has been achieved: A small group of unscrupulous hit-and-run investors has scored another pile of cash. Only the dishonest and naive among us assumes that the above scenario won’t happen again.

    It’s impossible to look at the history of mining industry recklessness and misconduct and conclude that it is prepared to act responsibly and ethically in Minnesota.

    Another fact from the article, indicative of the almost unimaginable recklessness of the mining industry:
    “Mining has polluted the headwaters of more than 40 percent of Western watersheds, according to the EPA.”

    And then there’s the harmful regulatory backdrop of the Trump administration:

    “In December 2017, the EPA reversed nascent attempts by the Obama administration to mandate a separate source of mine cleanup funds. Earthworks and others are suing to compel the agency to implement the rule, which a federal judge in 2016 ruled is required by the same 1980 law that created the Superfund program to clean up hazardous waste sites.

    “Holding mining companies accountable for cleaning up their pollution is an idea that’s heading backwards under the Trump administration,” Earthworks’ Krill said.”

    It’s astonishing that this PolyMet proposal, an utterly predictable disaster in the making, has gotten as fas as it has. It’s time to put an end to PolyMet’s reckless adventure with our north woods water.

  9. Submitted by Rod Loper on 04/02/2019 - 11:06 am.

    A great article by two venerable Minnesota leaders. Munger was another. Schooled by the Reserve Mining Company assault on Lake Superior. Just because the government issues a permit to do something does not mean we are safe.

    • Submitted by Joe Smith on 04/02/2019 - 12:53 pm.

      Reserve Mining stopped dumping tailing in Lake Superior in the 1970’s. They were afraid of asbestos type fibers in the water. Do you know how much those asbestos type fibers have gone down since Myles Lord ruled in favor of stop dumping tailings? None, same amount of asbestos type fibers in the big lake now as then.
      I remember when in the 60’s the mines changed from Iron Ore to taconite mining. The doomsayers were screaming how much more of a dirty process taconite mining was. It would destroy the Range, it didn’t. Funny how things repeat themselves.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/02/2019 - 01:38 pm.

        “Reserve Mining stopped dumping tailing in Lake Superior in the 1970’s. They were afraid of asbestos type fibers in the water”

        Well, that would be a little history rewriting. You’re telling us that Reserve Mining did this because they were afraid of asbestos fibers type fibers in the water? And they did this out of some kind of environmental conscience?

        Miles Lord forced them to stop dumping tailings in the water.

        The biggest controversy in the early 60’s conversion to taconite was not environmental concerns it was tax concerns as the steel companies would not invest in taconite processing unless suitable tax incentives were offered. And they were through the 1964 Taconite Amendment.

        And, believe it or not, this was before we had FAKE NEWS!

        And even though I may disagree, the PolyMet horse is out of the barn and it will not be stopped. As a frequent range visitor, a blanket denial of all mining expansion will result in an unending war between the pro and anti mining sides. Better to proceed cautiously and force PolyMet to comply to the best guidelines we can create and then do our best to build a wait and see on Twin Metals.

      • Submitted by David Lundeen on 04/02/2019 - 01:42 pm.

        Copper/ sulfide is entirely different. Basic chemistry says that the exposure to air creates acid. Do a little internet research and look up how devastating acid mine drainage is.

        • Submitted by Arthur Lind on 04/02/2019 - 02:46 pm.

          Everyone better through away anything with copper, nickel, palladium, gold, steel, and while you are patting yourselves on the back, better think how your food gets to your table, the clothes you wear, the cars you drive, and even the roads you drive on appear magically. It must be nice to feel so pure, but unless to turn the clock back to the stone age, we live in a world that consumes minerals and they must be mined from mother earth. We have them in Minnesota and have the toughest regulations anywhere in the world. You would be doing the world a service to have them mined here.

          • Submitted by David Lundeen on 04/04/2019 - 01:58 pm.

            We don’t have the toughest regulations. We have State run capitalism in which big corporations take inconceivable risks, go bankrupt, and then have the government bail them out with our tax dollars. No doubt this is part of PolyMet / Twin Metals thinking. After all, Javanka rents a house in Washington DC from the owner of Twin Metals. I wonder how that arrangement came to be?

          • Submitted by brad carlson on 04/05/2019 - 10:41 am.

            we hear this silly argument all the time: “if you own anything made of copper you implicitly must support the mining of it”. gimme a break. so, if you own a gun you are supportive of/responsible for all the mass murder incidents that occur?

            • Submitted by Arthur Lind on 04/05/2019 - 02:28 pm.

              Everybody has a footprint on consuming products that are mined and the pollution created in mining around the world in 3rd world countries is far worse than what would be in Minnesota, if any at all, under controlled environment. By mining some of these precious metals here the economics are shared throughout Minnesota. For instance, the MN Taconite industry generate $3 Billion worth of annual impact to MN economy and support 11,200 jobs as well as pay $188 million in taxes. $33 million is generated for school trust lands which is spread to every school district in the state. NIMBA syndrome supporters like you are causing world wide pollution.

              • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 04/05/2019 - 03:51 pm.

                “NIMBA syndrome supporters like you are causing world wide pollution.”

                This is false. The mining companies are the cause of the pollution. There is nothing that is preventing them from operating ethically.

                The question is can expensive, well-regulated copper compete with cheap, unregulated copper? PolyMet’s current stock prices do cast some doubt.

      • Submitted by Richard Owens on 04/02/2019 - 01:59 pm.

        June 16, 1973, Page 28
        The New York Times Archives

        The Environmental Protection Agency disclosed yesterday that “high concentrations” of potentially dangerous asbestos fibers had been found in the drinking water of Duluth and surrounding Minnesota communities that use Lake Superior for their water supply.

        The source of the fibers, the agency said, is believed to be the discharge of waste from the Reserve Mining Company, a taconite processing plant that has been embroiled in an anti pollution suit for several years.

        The company, whose plant in Silver Bay, Minn., 55 miles northeast of Duluth, has been dumping 67,000 tons of taconite tailings into the lake daily for 16 years, called the charges un founded and said there was no indication that the tailings presented any hazard to the drinking water.

        [end quote]

        You can eat asbestos, possibly without harm. Fish can eat it too, possibly without harm. Asbestos is most dangerous when breathed, like a miner would in extraction processes. Maybe Duluth has found a way to clean the water, or maybe they don’t use Superior for their supply anymore.

        Regardless, we are now talking about CHEMICAL pollution that will kill plankton, aquatic plants and disrupt or destroy the life that depends on clean water.

        Your anecdotes need some substantiation IMHO.

  10. Submitted by Nancy Cosgriff on 04/02/2019 - 02:13 pm.

    Thank you Arne Carlson for this concise and accurate depiction of the facts surrounding the PolyMet permit process and the very real potential for devastation of portions of Minnesota’s watershed and Lake Superior.

    PolyMet is the first sulfide mining project to be proposed in Minnesota. Copper tailings are wet, highly toxic and stored in tailing ponds. Current Minnesota law allows the tailings stored in dams that are designed to hold water. It is estimated that 100% of copper mine dams leak and 28% fail catastrophically.

    PolyMet has a permit to fill in 900 acres of wetlands to construct the mine, which will be located near Babbitt. This is the largest permitted destruction of wetland in Minnesota history.

    Do we want to be the state that protects its environment and 10,000 lakes or do we want to be the state that lost its greatest asset to the copper mining industry-and industry based outside the US and bringing almost no benefit to MN taxpayers?

  11. Submitted by ian wade on 04/02/2019 - 03:40 pm.

    Mr. Carlson paints quite the juxtaposition to what passes for a conservative these days. He’s a good man and a true leader.

  12. Submitted by Tom Berkelman on 04/02/2019 - 10:34 pm.

    It is inconceivable that there hasn’t been a comprehensive health impact study conducted given the potential severity of the pending mining operation. Glencore’s reprehensible record of international destruction of human lives is enough to warrant an independent study. How can this even be a debatable concern?

  13. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 04/03/2019 - 06:47 am.

    “It should be noted that there is a growing fear of serious shortages of drinking water due to contamination”.
    Scientists estimate the world can sustain 10 billion people.
    We are at 7 billion now.
    We need to protect our clean water for drinking.
    The rest of the world will need/be coming after it.

  14. Submitted by Joe Smith on 04/03/2019 - 08:41 am.

    If this is a worldwide pollution concern as opposed to “not in my backyard” issue, why wouldn’t you want it mined here with strict regulations rather than South America? Everybody on this site is using copper.
    That is where this “we are concerned for the globe” argument falls flat.

    • Submitted by Joe Musich on 04/03/2019 - 07:57 pm.

      Specious argument at best…to suggest that nimby is what people who are opposed to more mining are doing here….they are saying i(nby in nobody’s backyard.) I would suggest Mr Smith you assertain with nuance. Copper can be more efficiently recycled then mined according to the copper industry.

    • Submitted by Margaret Cullen on 04/03/2019 - 08:10 pm.

      We need to move away from raping the world or else is all I can say. I don’t want it in Central American and I don’t want it here. We have become selfish animals.

      • Submitted by Mark Bradley on 04/11/2019 - 11:43 am.

        Utter nonsense. We have not ‘become greedy’, life is by definition always greedy. Humans, like EVERY SPECIES ON THE PLANET, have one goal in life, to propagate and reproduce. Predators kill herbivores, fight each other for supremacy. Herbivores will force other herbivores from their territory if they can, and none give a thought to whether they eat the land bare. Humans may be the only species to think about these things, but I assure you, that only makes us the most hypocritical species! As thinking and empathetic beings, it is our responsibility to try to limit our impact, but reality says that impact is a function of existence. Sit back from your computer screen and look around at EVERYTHING you can see. Ask yourself: I wonder where that came from? Where di the raw materials come from? How were they produced from the land?
        Were they dug out, cut down, harvested? What type of technology allowed that to take place? What was the impact on the environment for THAT TECHNOLOGY? Will we be able, ever, to totally reuse the results of my use of the material? What type of technology will do THAT? Etc, etc etc. When you find a way to live without any impact on the environment at any stage of the process, let us know so we can join you

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/04/2019 - 06:48 am.

      Yeah “strong regulations” like basically scrapping the meat industry inspection standards and hamstringing the USDA? With conservatives in power there will be NO regulation by the the time these mines are dug. Simply put, why should any mining company, or the miners they employ, be trusted to follow through with meaningful environmental protection? Neither has any credibility, and it can be reasonably assumed, from examination of their commentary on the subject, that neither care what the consequences of their actions might be.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/04/2019 - 06:52 am.

      The best way to illustrate this is simply to ask. Mr. Smith, if it could be accurately predicted that all of the worst scenarios opponents paint about the futures of these mines and others WILL come to pass, would you still be in favor of their development? Is there ANY scenario in which you feel an area should remain off limits to mining?

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 04/04/2019 - 05:37 pm.

        Matt, simple, once a company passes the regulations put in place by experts in many fields (not sure of anyone’s expertise here at Minnpost comments section), you are then, by law, able to mine.
        As I stated I was living up here when the mining industry changed from Iron Ore to taconite. The same environmental concerns were raised and I am still looking for the world to end up here.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/05/2019 - 02:05 pm.

          So no then, there is no scenario under which you would oppose mining activity, regardless of the consequences. If nothing else, it makes the divide clear, there can be no compromise when there is no acknowledgement of concern, and as such, the only course can be total defeat of the opposition.

          • Submitted by Joe Smith on 04/08/2019 - 08:33 am.

            No Matt, change the regulations. If you get a housing permit and are building a house next to me that blocks my sunset view, I maybe upset, but I can’t stop you from building. Polymet has been going thru the permitting process for 15-20 years, when they pass, they mine. That is the law. You surely mustn’t think of yourself above the law?

  15. Submitted by Don Arnosti on 04/04/2019 - 06:53 am.

    Arnie Carlson, the most environmentally concerned governor in my working life. Raised in New York City. He gets Minnesota values. Thank you Arnie for speaking out, with the public interest foremost, as always. May today’s politicians take courage – and his advice!

    Move state jobs to the Range: stop the slow-moving disaster that is PolyMet!

  16. Submitted by Sharon Knuth on 04/05/2019 - 10:48 am.

    Thank you to Arnie Carlson and Janet Entzel for writing this thoughtful post. I agree that Minnesota needs to take a step back from PolyMet and Twin Metals and take a more holistic view of the impacts of mining in Minnesota. Part of that step back, requires looking at these projects with the Climate Changes and the impacts not only for our state but this country as a whole. Every article I read about our collective future puts a premium value on water. Yet we seem set on destroying our watersheds for profits exported to companies outside this country. I believe that Minnesota must do better in its vision for this state regarding our environment and the impact on the water, the surrounding habitat for animals and fish, and for communities. I don’t want the mining community to be left out of the cold – lets make sure we are enabling the people in those communities the opportunities to have good jobs in industry that works with the overall vision of a state that is respectful to the natural gifts of the land and the people living here now and the future.

    • Submitted by Mark Bradley on 04/11/2019 - 11:52 am.

      The minerals needed for modern day commerce and living, commerce that now allows many times as many people to live happy, healthy lives, ARE the ‘natural gifts of the land’

      I sometimes wonder how the people of a certain area especially those who suffer the ‘NIMBY’ attitude would feel if the particular resources that they don’t want to see mined/harvested/cut/processed were to face a world where those resources were banned for USE in their backyard? If a state bans fracking, how would that same state feel if oil products (from gasoline to plastics) were no longer allowed to be used in the state? Or how about banning copper from Minnesota, would that be okay? It would solve the environmental issues, but it’s going to get mighty cold and dark in Northern Minnesota.

      We use the products we mine, there is NO other way to sustain a society at all without them. So what should we do?

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