U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan tries to balance mining support with work on climate change – by Maya Rao (Minneapolis Star Tribune – July 13, 2017)


WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan is embracing the fight against climate change in Congress even as he faces criticism from environmentalists back home for his support of local mining interests.

In a congressional hearing on Friday, the northeastern Minnesota DFLer will tout his bill to complete a land swap that would benefit the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine. Nolan also recently joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers called the Climate Solutions Caucus, and he maintains that there’s no contradiction between reducing carbon emissions and championing a mining project that has drawn opposition from a range of environmental groups.

“I am convinced beyond any doubt whatsoever that 21st-century state-of-the-art mining which is compliant with strong environmental rules and regulations, unlike the mining of the past, is part of a foundation to address global warming and reduce the carbon footprint,” Nolan said in an interview.

The three-term congressman, who previously served in Congress in the 1970s, is balancing an increasingly delicate position between environmental and industrial interests in a sprawling congressional district that includes the Iron Range and other of Minnesota’s most important natural resources and public land.

The region has a strong legacy of valuing pristine wilderness and clean air and water alongside a tradition of mining activity that brings much-needed jobs. Nolan narrowly won re-election last year, and his district also backed President Donald Trump.

For the rest of this article: http://www.startribune.com/u-s-rep-rick-nolan-tries-to-balance-mining-support-with-climate-change-opposition/434291503/