In the first week of the new administration, Minnesota’s Iron Range could feel the impact of President Donald Trump, who on Monday took executive action to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Later in the day, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt sent a letter to Trump asking him to reverse the Obama administration decisions to end mineral leases for Twin Metals, and reverse course on a proposed mining moratorium in Superior National Forest.
“We believe very strongly that we can access those natural resources safely,” Daudt said at a news conference Monday. “We know that the economy and jobs are dependent upon us growing the mining industry and the Range. We think we’ve got really good, safe opportunities to do that.”
In December, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took action to block more than 230,000 acres of national forest land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from future mining leases, which included the proposed Twin Metals underground copper-nickel mine near Ely. In a separate action, the Obama administration also denied mineral leases to the company, which is being fought through a federal lawsuit brought on by Twin Metals.
Daudt and more than 60 other state lawmakers sent a bipartisan letter to the Forest Service and BLM earlier this year asking the agencies to rethink the action, citing the economic benefit to the region. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and members of the Iron Range Delegation signed the letter.
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