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Elizabeth Warren comes out against Line 3 and Twin Metals, and Minnesota construction unions are not happy

Sen. Elizabeth Warren
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the third presidential candidate to come out against Line 3, a $2.6 billion project that has received most major permits for construction.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren waded into a pair of controversial environmental debates in Minnesota this week by saying she opposed a copper-nickel mine planned in Superior National Forest and an oil pipeline that would cut through the Mississippi River headwaters.

In a tweet ahead of her rally Monday in St. Paul, Warren said Enbridge’s Line 3 project would threaten water and lands important to several tribes, and pledged in a short video statement to “stop all mining on federal public lands, including the Minnesota Boundary Waters.”

While mining is already banned within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the video was filmed to support an environmental advocacy group that aims to stop Twin Metals Minnesota from building a mine just outside the protected area — and within its watershed.

Warren is the third presidential candidate to come out against Line 3, a $2.6 billion project that has received most major permits for construction. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee have also said it should not be built. But Warren is the first Democratic candidate to specifically target Twin Metals and copper mining near the BWCA, and could push the issue further into the national spotlight. President Donald Trump has been an outspoken advocate of the prospective mine.

The Boundary Waters Action Fund and other environmental groups celebrated Warren’s announcements, but the Massachusetts Democrat also drew the ire of some labor leaders in Minnesota who have traditionally aligned with her party.

Mike Syversrud, president of the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council, said it “pisses me off” that Warren would take a stance before Twin Metals submits a mining plan to state and federal regulators and said the senator was abandoning rural workers to align with Twin Cities-area Democrats.

Syversrud’s union on Wednesday is formally signing an agreement with Twin Metals to build the mine, if it’s approved by regulators. “Why would you want to be against something that will create so many jobs, and living [wage] jobs, within an area that desperately needs it?” Syversrud said.

Two projects that have split Democrats

The Line 3 project would stretch 337 miles across northern Minnesota, crossing ceded tribal territory and the Mississippi’s headwaters region before reaching a terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. 

Calgary-based Enbridge says the project is needed to replace an existing 1960s-era pipeline that is operating at half capacity because it’s corroding and a spill risk. Line 3 supporters say replacing the old pipeline is safer than moving oil by rail and would bring a windfall of jobs and investment to rural parts of the state. 

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved the project, but a judge recently sent it back to the PUC because the regulators hadn’t adequately researched the effect a spill could have in Lake Superior’s watershed.

Line 3 has earned widespread GOP support, but it has split DFLers in the state, and to some extent, tribal governments. In a written statement, Enbridge spokeswoman Juli Kellner emphasized that the company has worked with tribes to route the project and pledged to spend $100 million with indigenous and tribally owned businesses as part of the project. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has also reached a deal with Enbridge to remove the old Line 3 from its land and direct the new one around the reservation.

“Minnesotans consume more than 12.8 million gallons of petroleum products every day and Minnesota relies on imports to meet its energy needs,” Kellner said. “Minnesota’s two refineries produce more than two-thirds of the state’s petroleum products and 80% of these products are refined from Canadian crude oil.”

Yet environmental groups, several tribes and native-led advocacy organizations have denounced the project as unacceptable long-term fossil fuel infrastructure amid climate change and say a pipeline spill could damage lands that tribes use to hunt, fish and gather wild rice. They have launched a battery of lawsuits against the pipeline project.

Warren, who has worked to patch up her relationship with Native Americans after taking a DNA test to try to prove she has indigenous heritage, emphasized tribal opposition to Line 3 in her tweet.

Twin Metals is further from construction than Line 3. The underground mine near Ely has yet to submit official plans to regulators. But it has also been a lightning rod with political fault lines similar to the Line 3 debate.

Twin Metals, which is owned by Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, promises 700 jobs from the mine and another 1,400 spinoff jobs. The company says the characteristics of its deposit and modern mining technology can help the operation avoid acidic runoff and leaching of heavy metals into water that has plagued similar hard-rock mines around the world.

Environmental organizations, however, warn of grave risk to water and pollution of the Boundary Waters, a pristine wilderness and economic engine for many cities in northern Minnesota. State regulators will begin to evaluate the mine idea after a plan of operation is submitted in coming months.

Warren told thousands at Macalester College on Monday that unions should be invigorated and will “rebuild America.”
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Warren told thousands at Macalester College on Monday that unions should be invigorated and will “rebuild America.”
In a statement, Alex Falconer, director of the Boundary Waters Action Fund, said the group is “thrilled that Sen. Warren is the first candidate to make such a strong and clear statement about protecting the Boundary Waters Wilderness.”

He also hinted that other campaigns may follow Warren’s lead. The Action Fund is a wing of Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, which is led by activist Becky Rom and former Department of Natural Resources chief Tom Landwehr. “The Boundary Waters Action Fund has been working with campaigns for the last month educating them on the threat to the Wilderness and the importance of establishing strong protections through science-based federal policy,” Falconer said.

Warren did not appear to take a stance on PolyMet, another copper-nickel mine proposed in the region. That $1 billion project does not sit on federal land and is within the watershed of Lake Superior, not the BWCA.

Twin Metals was quick to condemn Warren for making a blanket statement against mining on public lands. Generally, the federal government has long encouraged such mining, particularly in the West. 

Julie Padilla, the company’s chief regulatory officer, said Warren did not reach out to Twin Metals and said copper, nickel and other metals they plan to mine can help power solar panels, electric cars and wind turbines needed to stave off climate change. “It’s disconnected to say the thousands of families dependent on jobs around mining activities are not relevant to her campaign,” Padilla said.

Sharp words from labor

On Monday — before Warren told thousands at Macalester College that unions should be invigorated and will “rebuild America” — leaders at two prominent construction unions also panned Warren’s announcement on Twin Metals and Line 3.

Kevin Pranis, spokesman for the Minnesota and North Dakota chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America ,said Line 3 has “survived a rigorous permitting process run by public officials who care deeply about clean air, clean water, and respecting the concerns of all stakeholders.” The union expects to work on Line 3 if built.

“We encourage all of the presidential candidates to talk to us and to other stakeholders and to better educate themselves about these issues before rushing to judgment,” Pranis said.

Syversrud, of the Iron Range labor union, said Warren’s positions could hurt her standing with the union, and with Democratic voters in northeast Minnesota. He said many rank-and-file members of his union supported pro-mining Republican Pete Stauber’s run for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District even though the union endorsed DFLer Joe Radinovich. And while the region has a tradition of supporting Democrats, it swung closer to Trump in the 2016 election and the Republican nearly carried the state.

“We really don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat; we want people who will support local union jobs and creating more local jobs for everybody,” Syversrud said.

In the only major poll of likely Democratic primary voters conducted in Minnesota, conducted in June by Change Research, Warren had a narrow lead, but was essentially tied with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.  

Warren’s campaign didn’t respond to the unions, but a campaign spokeswoman sent MinnPost Warren’s “green manufacturing” plan that aims to create more than 1 million jobs. It would be paid for mainly by a tax on corporate profits. The spokeswoman also emailed Warren’s public lands plan, which would only stop new fossil fuel leases on public lands. She did not clarify whether Warren intends to broadly stop hard-rock mining as well.

Warren did not touch on either Line 3 or Twin Metals during her rally on Monday, instead running over the smorgasbord of policies she hopes to enact if elected, such as a wealth tax, universal child care, student-loan debt forgiveness and more.

In front of what her campaign said was 12,000 people, Warren also made the case for “structural change” to fight global warming and said we “have a government that works great for giant oil companies that want to drill everywhere, just not for those of us who see climate change bearing down upon us.”

“You want to understand the climate crisis we’re in today? It’s 25 years of corruption in Washington that brought us to this point,” she said.

Comments (67)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/20/2019 - 10:04 am.

    The democrats will be running a big city liberal candidate for president next year. I wonder how that will go when jobs will likely be a key issue.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/20/2019 - 11:27 am.

      Funny thing about big cities, like Minneapolis for instance, they pay the bills. If the folks in rural areas had to survive on their own tax base they’d be in dire straights. I guess I can understand the resentment, when you are dependent on someone else to support you it does breed contempt. Its okay, we understand, big city liberals are used to carrying the burden and not being thanked for it.

      • Submitted by Dennis Barrett on 08/21/2019 - 09:47 am.

        Let me be the first to thank you with corn, beans, beef, chicken, electric, the steel in your vehicle, gas in your furnace, the wood in your walls and the silver in your teeth.

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/21/2019 - 12:59 pm.

          Your list is nonsense, the wood in my walls was locally grown right here in Minneapolis, that’s how they did things 110 years ago when it was built. The the beef, chicken and eggs that I eat are raised within 30 miles of the city. Can you point me to the nearest steel mill and silver mine. I’m not aware of any of those within our borders. There are the mines, but they don’t produce enough tax revenue to keep their own part of the state afloat, let alone the rest of the state.

          You are welcome for the tax dollars that we send you through aid to cities and counties. The money we provide to keep your roads maintained, plowed and surfaced. Especially the small rural road with few people living on them. You can thank us for the aid we provide to keep your water clean and a million other things that rural Minnesota can’t tax their residents enough to provide for themselves.

        • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 08/21/2019 - 01:21 pm.

          All these things I pay for with my hard earned cash, the meat that I eat, the car that I drive, the gas for heat….and I pay my taxes. Its those tax dollars that are being doled out to rural areas that can’t afford to pay for all that they need on their own. That money is GIVEN to rural areas. I am not complaining because I believe that we’re all in this together, but it would be nice if folks like yourself understood that.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/21/2019 - 04:17 pm.

          Dude, you get paid for those things. Just like you pay for the computer you can’t grow. Or the truck you can’t grow.

          Still, the tax dollars go from Ramsey, Hennepin, Anoka, and Dakota counties to counties like Yellow Medicine and Jackson.

          • Submitted by Dennis Barrett on 08/22/2019 - 04:56 pm.

            More inclusiveness from Democrats.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/23/2019 - 09:54 am.

              “When reality isn’t what you want it to be, fall back on sullen one-liners.”

            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/23/2019 - 02:09 pm.

              Oh yes, Don Trump is the Great Uniter.


              Have you been paying attention to politics in this state the last 10 years? The GOP has been running on fear and resentment of The Other. Fear of immigrants. Fear of Muslims. Fear of MPLS banning the sale of plastic bags and raising it’s minimum wage. Fear of a black guy as attorney general.

              Give me a break. Metro politicians don’t run against outstate MN, they just don’t. It wouldn’t play any way. Give me one example of a Metro pol running on “rural MN wants to do “X”, and we won’t let them!”

        • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/27/2019 - 09:33 pm.

          Exactly! Someone needs to pump the gas into their Subaru’s when they come to visit our backyard, the BWCA.

    • Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 08/20/2019 - 02:47 pm.

      Jobs….the ‘gotcha’ word….with no guarantee, no $ commitment, no explanation of type and educational requirements, …just a dog whistle that Republicans and Trumpers constantly use when pressed for specifics.

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 08/20/2019 - 02:54 pm.

      She is a US senator so there’s that. She also was once(many years ago) a Republican. Sometimes environment takes precedence over jobs. There are other avenues to job growth, including moving. Some of the candidates are actually moderates like Klobuchar, Biden. Trump’s claim to bring back coal has not gone anywhere. Then add to it, looming trade issues. At this rate, we aren’t sure if the job growth will continue at this rate, even if you believe the president has a large part in those numbers.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/20/2019 - 04:08 pm.

      I wonder how many trades men and women will vote for Don Trump after he’s done gutting the apprenticeship system that has created millions of middle class jobs for generations.

      And don’t forget Mr. Tester, the talking point is that Warren (or whoever is nominated) is a socialist. That’s much scarier than “big city”.

      • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/21/2019 - 08:53 am.

        The Iron Range voted for Trump and Stauber. I am fairly certain most of my Steelworker’s union did too, not that they would admit it. I’ll never forget Obama’s silly comment that ‘construction jobs are temporary’. Of course they are!

        • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/27/2019 - 10:07 am.

          Why is that silly if it’s true? I recognize that it’s kind of like saying “I always find what I’m looking for in the last place I look,” but sometimes the obvious stuff needs to be said. After all, if something temporary affects the future in ways that are negative to those who inherit the consequences, especially if the benefits now are limited, then we should think long and hard about whether we do the temporary thing. After all, unless you wish to be the end of your line, or any human line for that matter, there will be lots of others after us.

  2. Submitted by Matt Haas on 08/20/2019 - 10:52 am.

    That’s why single issue advocacy is a fool’s errand. Fat lot of good union jobs will do everyone else when the landscape is ruined.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/20/2019 - 11:00 am.

    I’m pro labor all the way; but these construction unions jeopardize their credibility every time they come out swinging for any construction project no matter how ill conceived. We can build all kinds of things that create construction jobs, but we can’t build stuff just because building creates construction jobs.

    • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/27/2019 - 09:36 pm.

      As far as I know, most of us still put gas in our cars and heat our homes with oil or gas. Until there are affordable, logical alternatives, we need the pipeline built. Trains and trucks hauling oil are inefficient and dangerous.

      • Submitted by Christopher Williams on 09/05/2019 - 08:01 am.

        Barbara you are simply wrong: “As far as I know, most of us still put gas in our cars and heat our homes with oil or gas. Until there are affordable, logical alternatives, we need the pipeline built.”.

        Line 3 delivers oil from tar sands in Canada to a port in Wisconsin to be shipped out of the USA. It in no way benefits Minnesota energy consumers directly. We take on most of the environmental risk by being a shortcut to port, to enrich people outside the USA.

  4. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 08/20/2019 - 12:05 pm.

    When will the Iron Range learn that the future of mining is dead? How long do we have to keep training Rangers to build horse and buggies?

    • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/21/2019 - 08:59 am.

      Gee, I think a very nice, very tall bridge was recently built near Virginia, MN to add 30+ more years to a mine there.

  5. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 08/20/2019 - 12:16 pm.

    There are 3.1 million people in the workforce in Minnesota. 700 jobs is 0.02%. That’s less than rounding error in the unemployment statistics. The Twins Metals project will have no noticeable impact on the workforce in Minnesota.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/21/2019 - 08:16 am.

      And THAT’S if you even get 700 jobs… again the promised jobs rarely materialize, and there’s no recourse when they don’t. Actual construction jobs aren’t “local” jobs since workers come in from all over the State if not the country, and even those jobs are temporary. Given the nature of construction the jobs are more temporary than many people realize. Almost no one gets a job for two years or however long construction takes. The iron workers, concrete workers, plumbers, electricians, etc. all come in for a few months or even less and do their work as needed.

      • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/21/2019 - 08:58 am.

        That is simply not true! My husband has worked construction for over 25 years. In the last 15 years he has worked away from home twice, once for 3 months, and another traveling job for 2 weeks. Plenty of building and remodeling going on on the Iron Range. The low opinion the New Democrats have for blue collar workers does not bode well for them. MAGA 2020!

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/21/2019 - 04:47 pm.

        Yes, in construction you are constantly working yourself out of a job. Generations of tradesmen (and now women) have been doing it for decades. Under a union contract, it’s a solid middle class living. It buys homes, sends kids to college, and earns a dignified retirement.

        Good luck finding a place to live, work, or play without those temporary jobs.

  6. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 08/20/2019 - 12:21 pm.

    If it hasn’t happened already, every union not comprised of government employees will soon be supporting the GOP. It will be very interesting to see the rhetoric that follows from the Democrat party.

    • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/21/2019 - 09:00 am.

      Can’t wait until all unions cannot force dues from members.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/21/2019 - 04:36 pm.

        What so great about allowing freeloaders? I hear a lot of conservatives carping about people wanting “free stuff”.

    • Submitted by Daniel Pinkerton on 08/25/2019 - 10:33 pm.

      Can we count on all union members to vote for union-busting Republicans? Can we count on all blue collar workers to not give a damn about the world they leave to their children and grandchildren? I hope not.

  7. Submitted by Alan Muller on 08/20/2019 - 12:35 pm.

    The union voices would be more credible if they had any record of advocating for responsible mining project designs.

    • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 08/22/2019 - 01:09 pm.

      It is ironic because the designs for more responsible mines are more costly to build and operate, partly because they require more people to build them and operate them. More responsible mining = more jobs.

      • Submitted by Alan Muller on 08/24/2019 - 10:54 am.


        My experience (elsewhere) was that the trades frequently opposed environmental cleanup projects that would generate considerable work for them.

        The underlying reason was that they did what the bosses told them to do, rather than thought and investigated for themselves. Whether this pattern holds in Minnesota I can’t say from personal experience.

  8. Submitted by Constance Sullivan on 08/20/2019 - 01:41 pm.

    One thing we do know about this pipeline issue: Elizabeth Warren has studied up on it, and has reasons for her position. She does not respond to a one-angle-only appeal (jobs are ore important than anything else, is a one-angle position).

    Trump, of course, will say anything, He may say the opposite tomorrow, and he’s well oi his way to ruining the whole economy at present, but these union guys would vote for him, instead? Really?!?

  9. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/20/2019 - 04:10 pm.

    Anyone with direct knowledge can correct me if I am wrong, but neither of the proposed mines have signed contracts with the Steelworkers to operate the mines.

  10. Submitted by Mark Miklas on 08/20/2019 - 04:15 pm.

    Stop repeating this irrelevant information: “Minnesota’s two refineries produce more than two-thirds of the state’s petroleum products and 80% of these products are refined from Canadian crude oil.” None of the oil used by the two Minnesota refiners is delivered via Line 3. There are two different lines from Clearbrook that deliver to the refineries.

  11. Submitted by Brian Mann on 08/20/2019 - 04:45 pm.

    We aren’t Democrats proposing alternatives? They chided Republicans for saying “no” to all their proposals, then turn around and do the same thing when they’re in the minority party. Very tiresome.

    Why not propose incentives to finish the direct iron reduction ore mine in Nashuak instead? Cleveland Cliffs just finished the first such plant in Silver Bay for a long-term future of higher value product.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/21/2019 - 08:22 am.

      The demand for alternatives assumes that these projects are necessary in some way to begin with. We don’t need copper mines in MN. And “we” don’t need pipelines.

    • Submitted by Charles Thompson on 08/26/2019 - 04:01 pm.

      Brian – Late update. Cliffs will do Nashwauk when they have signed contracts for the off take. Savvy management.

  12. Submitted by Scott Walters on 08/20/2019 - 07:31 pm.

    Nobody cares what unions want anymore. Which is too bad. Unions needed the Democratic Farmer Labor party, and the Democratic Farmer Labor party needed unions. Republicans have done an excellent job of vilifying both, and peeling some unions and union members away from the DFL. They have also been relentless in reducing the power of organized labor. The disloyalty of some unions (it seems outstate and construction types have become more conservative than urban, teacher, government, and service unions) has now come home to roost. Conservation voters are more important than construction union voters. That’s just how it is.

    In addition, those fossil fuels must remain in the ground if anyone under the age of 50 plans to live out their life in anything resembling the planet those of us 50 or older grew up on. Elizabeth Warren is right, Line 3 must never happen. We need to do everything possible to make gasoline ever more scarce and expensive and hasten the shift to a carbon neutral, renewable electric future. That’s also just how it is.

    • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/21/2019 - 09:05 am.

      Certainly! I am still driving 34 miles to work each day and we still heat our home with fuel oil, burning wood occasionally. That will not change in the near future. Until their are reasonable alternatives, we will remain an economy that runs on fossil fuels.

      • Submitted by Constance Sullivan on 08/21/2019 - 11:11 am.

        Ms. Lofquist should consider installing solar panels on her home’s roof, to provide electricity to it, and heat her water; there are also geo-thermal systems to heat the house, or have your eectric power provideer offer you wind-powered electricity. You can now drive a non-gasoline-powered car. Even outside our large cities!

        You don’t have to continue to promote fossil fuels as the only way to go, Even a union person can help save the environment

      • Submitted by richard owens on 08/21/2019 - 11:33 am.

        …and yet you oppose union dues?

        I swore an oath to support my brothers and sisters in the union, and I understood that to be paying my dues.

        Republicans’ “right to work” and lawsuits from folks who might have taken the union pledge but didn’t really mean it are saving their dues for themselves. It is like preaching the evils of debt and then making tax cuts that increase it .

        We are in this together, as workers, as Minnesotans, as human beings.

        Union membership makes a better world for all, if you believe CEO salaries are obscene and workers’ earnings are hurting their ability to participate in the economy.

        • Submitted by Barbara Lofquist on 08/27/2019 - 09:45 pm.

          I am opposed to unions contributing to a political party, especially since they only contribute to the Democrats. Many union workers are Conservative.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/27/2019 - 10:03 am.

        There are reasonable alternatives for much of what you’re mentioning, and where there isn’t, there soon will be. So, why bet your future on the past? Unless you don’t have kids or grandkids, this kind of thinking is foolish. And even if you don’t (I don’t), this kind of thinking is selfish. Yes, you need to pay bills and live in a heated home, as do I. But I also know that in 50 or so years, I’ll be gone and all the choices I made shouldn’t be saddled onto those who didn’t have a choice in my decisions. Here are some things I do to try to reduce the need for fossil fuels: reduce the grass in my yard–we’ve cut out a significant portion of our grass and replaced it with planted beds, which reduces the mowing we need to do (as well as runoff and the need for inputs, such as water and fertilizer); I telecommute at least once a week (not a choice for many jobs, I understand, but it’s something I can do); drive a fuel efficient car and take the most efficient routes–I check the traffic before I leave home or work every day and at some point, I’ll have an electric car that I will carpool with my husband in; grow a vegetable garden–it reduces our need to drive to the grocery store (I wish our grocery store was walkable from our house); plan errands around when we’re going to be driving anyway.

        So, yeah, fossil fuels are temporarily king. But they don’t need to be, even now. And future generations will curse us for ruining the world they’ll inherit. And we’ll deserve it.

  13. Submitted by Joe Musich on 08/20/2019 - 11:18 pm.

    Union management needs to start imagineering green jobs. Little effort required. It it is mysterious to me the reason they are not stepping into this vacuum in that manner. The implication is that they are not a very creative lot. This is not something I believe. however this repetitious argument sure suggests this group is locked in in their thinking. They same applies to democrats who claim they fight for the working person and yet put no or little effort into new ideas. They let the companies do their thinking. Is it laziness or fear that has them holding that position ? Are they fighting for the companies, themselves or the future ? Give me and the public some ideas on what could be please.

  14. Submitted by Bill Hansen on 08/21/2019 - 05:15 am.

    I appreciate that union leaders must advocate for work. I absolutely want unions to be strong and productive. I live in northeastern Minnesota and have worked my whole life to promote sustainable economic development.

    The issue is that sulfide mining is a very bad choice in the long run. It drives out more jobs than it creates. It is a boom and bust industry that is moving toward nearly total automation. When it ends—and it inevitably does—it leave a permanently depressed community with little chance of new economic activity.

    The companies that are wanting to come here are notoriously anti-union, with long, long histories of broken promises, human rights violations and devastating pollution legacies.

    Let’s work together to create a future that builds success from within, not heartless rape-and-run foreign oligarchs. Please, this is not an urban vs rural issue. This is Minnesotans working together to protect our greatest treasures—smart, hard working union labor and the world’s largest supply of clean, fresh water.

  15. Submitted by John Callister on 08/21/2019 - 05:29 am.

    It is scary when Syversrud says “We really don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat.” My grandfathers are spinning in their graves. The DFL is the only reason several generations of Iron Rangers enjoyed a middle class living in the mines. It is unfortunate that Elizabeth Warren came out against the pipeline, and obviously saying “no mining in the BWCA” is a nonsense statement that was spun by Republicans to mean she is against the PolyMet project and its several hundred jobs. We should focus on electing Joe Biden, re-centering the DFL, getting rid of “Chip Cravaack 2,” and making sure that the 8th District gets back to the proper DFL representation it needs for long term success.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/21/2019 - 08:28 am.

      It wasn’t centrist Democrats like Biden that created the standard of living for workers on the Iron Range, it was liberal Democrats like Warren. This tunnel vision and corporate dependence is not the future of Northern Minnesota, even if these mines and pipelines get built. The idea that we need to sacrifice the environment in order to create jobs is simply divisive and facile.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 08/24/2019 - 11:16 am.

      I don’t think Biden is your best candidate for electability if strong unions is an important issue to you. Try Warren or Sanders. Don’t buy into Biden’s working man schtick.

      The main reason that people in Ohio, Michigan, western Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, questioned Hillary Clinton back in 2016 is the same reason Trump will make sure they question Biden if he’s the nominee, which is he supported NAFTA.

      In 2011 in Wisconsin, labor leaders asked Biden to rally with them in resistance to Scott Walker and the Right to Work legislation, which was ultimately successful. And Biden the union man didn’t show up.

      Biden’s strategy is to court both union members and their wealthy bosses for donor dollars. In the same week he stood alongside union leaders to launch his campaign, Biden planned to attend a fundraiser with the chief lobbyist of Comcast and a corporate lawyer whose firm specializes, in part, in helping “employers avoid unionization.”

  16. Submitted by Julie Stroeve on 08/21/2019 - 10:23 am.

    Mr. Syversrud, Senator Warren and others support unions and union workers while taking care to protect and defend our air, land, and waters. We should be able to put union workers to work without risking our environment to do it. Jobs at all cost means no jobs for anyone down the road.

  17. Submitted by Joe Smith on 08/21/2019 - 01:22 pm.

    Warren (like most here on Minnpost) have no idea what the regulations are for mining in Minnesota, the procedure you go through or the protections for environment built into the regulatory process. It just sounds good to claim self righteousness and beat down mining. Just more hot air coming out from folks who turn their noses up at good honest mining jobs without knowing the facts.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/22/2019 - 09:23 am.

      You sure are very trusting of the government all the sudden Joe.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 08/23/2019 - 02:11 pm.

        The same government that has allowed the water in southern MN to become so polluted that no one can swim in it.

    • Submitted by Brian Nelson on 08/22/2019 - 11:20 am.

      Joe, I think you would agree that Marshall Helmberger has done an excellent job reporting on mining regulation in MN. Particularly in regards to the failures concerning the Dunka Mine.,12329

    • Submitted by Constance Sullivan on 08/22/2019 - 05:55 pm.

      To Joe Smith,

      Attacking Elizabeth Warren for not knowing the regulations or the relevant facts on an issue shows that Donald Trump’s universal and deep ignorance has warped your perspective on what qualified presidential candidates actually are prepared for.

      She does know what she talks about, unlike Trump! She came out against the pipeline and the mining project for detailed and specific reasons Reasons–Please pay Warren the respect she’s due, and study up on these things at least as much as she has done.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/22/2019 - 08:57 am.

    Warren may oppose these project, but any union member who thinks centrists or Republicans are or will be better friends for workers or labor unions is simply being daft.

    As far as Republicans are concerned any union jobs that are created a necessary evil they intend to eradicate, the won’t be satisfied until collective bargaining is a historical footnote and everyone is an at-will employee.

    You can be MAGA if you want, but any labor union that supports MAGA is committing suicide, stick a fork in em, they’re done.

    Likewise, neoliberal “centrists” are no champions of labor OR labor unions. Sure, they show up on Labor Day to brag about FDR but the truth is if most of the New Deal reforms weren’t already in place, they’d be against them. It’s not a coincidence that union participation has been decimated under the neoliberal regime.

    Labor rights were and are a progressive agenda, they have never been a “centrists” agenda. If you think Biden, or Clinton, or Klobuchar are champions of labor your union is toast.

    This mining project is a tree, step back and look at the forest. Warren may oppose this project, but if you look at her agenda it will create more jobs and raise wages, and strengthen unions tenfold compared to anything centrists are even dreaming about.

    • Submitted by Judy Chucker on 08/25/2019 - 09:38 am.

      Thank you, Paul.

      I appreciate the angst among miners, but am disturbed by the narrow understanding of the consequences of individual and collective actions.

      Even if pro-mining voices can’t stand the anti-mining viewpoints on the basis of the emergency created by fossil fuel use, I would hope that they could support those who are saying “Look! Over here! This is where the economy is growing! Here’s your future.”

  19. Submitted by Bill Mantis on 08/23/2019 - 05:05 pm.

    Elizabeth Warren is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal. One of the provisions of the GND is a job guarantee. Warren and Sander’s are both strong supporters of unions. Many more long-term, high paying, union jobs can be generated in Minnesota in wind and solar installations than in mining or pipeline construction. Union-members and leaders who think they’d be better off under Trump rather than Warren, haven’t been paying attention.

  20. Submitted by Judy Chucker on 08/25/2019 - 09:47 am.

    For your own sake, Trump supporters, if not for all of us, pay attention to where your path is taking you in your desire for jobs in this industry.

    Pretend you are working for the horse-&-buggy, steam locomotive, or video tape industries promising great union jobs. It’s painful to see this happen but don’t compound the problem for yourself by failing to see the direction this is heading.

    All the wishful thinking and anger directed at others who see things differently will not help you.

  21. Submitted by Dan Handke on 08/26/2019 - 07:49 pm.

    Over 70% of Minnesota’s taxable income is generated by the 11 county metro area. ( I’ll be talking with my state rep and congressman about helping rural communities live within their means by reducing their reliance on metro area taxpayers.

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