Mining progress will bring jobs, benefits to Minnesota – by Russell Hess (Post Bulletin – January 19, 2017)

Russell Hess, of Plainview, is political coordinator of the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota and a board member of Jobs for Minnesotans.

There is no doubt that we all want to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is an undisputed national treasure, and we’re fortunate that it is in our own backyard.

That said, anyone implying that potential mining activities would destroy this pristine area shows a lack of understanding of the strict existing environmental and regulatory protections at the state and federal levels.

Twin Metals Minnesota, the company for which the federal government denied renewal of its mineral leases, has yet to even propose a project. The federal leases in question have been in place for more than 50 years and have been twice renewed by the federal government without controversy and with acknowledgment that the leases pose no adverse environmental impacts.

Renewal of the leases is necessary for Twin Metals to continue engineering and environmental studies that will inform the eventual project plan submitted to agencies for comprehensive environmental review under state and federal law.

To deny renewal of these long-standing leases and to take further action to bar new mineral permits and leases on federally owned lands in northeastern Minnesota are arbitrary actions that ignore long-established federal law and processes for regulating the mining industry.

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