U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer: Why I’m pushing to preserve mining in northern Minnesota – by Tom Emmer (Minneapolis Star Tribune – August 1, 2017)


Tom Emmer, a Republican, represents Minnesota’s Sixth District in the U.S. House.

Minnesota is an amazing state with an abundance of natural resources and one of the best-educated and -motivated workforces in the world. We Minnesotans not only work hard, we play hard. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we make the most of everything our state has to offer.

For many Minnesotans, mining has been a way of life since the early 1800s. Although the way we mine has changed dramatically over the years, mining is even more important today to the future of our state and our country.  In fact, one of the largest precious-metals deposits in the world has been discovered in Minnesota. This is why it is imperative that we preserve and celebrate mining in our state, not eliminate its future. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always a shared priority with the Obama administration.

When the Superior National Forest was established in 1909 — and later when the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was established in 1978 — there was an express agreement between the federal government and the state of Minnesota that certain activities like mining and logging could continue in the Superior National Forest. In fact, in the current Superior National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, exploration and mining are considered a “desired condition.”

Last December, after the election and before the new administration took office, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management unexpectedly refused to renew Minnesota’s mineral leases and started the process of withdrawing more than 400,000 acres from resource exploration.

Considering the timing and the fact that a nearly identical programmatic withdrawal was proposed to the Obama administration just two years earlier but was denied, this 11th-hour action by the last administration was politically motivated and not based on sound policy. If this action is not stopped, it could potentially result in the loss of thousands of jobs — good-paying jobs — and have a devastating impact on northern Minnesota’s local economies.

For the rest of this column: http://www.startribune.com/u-s-rep-tom-emmer-why-i-m-pushing-to-preserve-mining-in-northern-minnesota/437965353/