Leaders of a grassroots pro-mining organization say they’re making progress in the nation’s capital – one meeting at a time. Fight for Mining Minnesota made its presence felt in Washington, D.C. this week, as three members of the group – including former Ely Mayor Joe Baltich -lobbied members of Congress, Congressional aides and reached out to the Trump administration.
The visit wasn’t linked to specific legislation or a committee hearing. Instead, Baltich joined former Elyites and FMM leaders Cindy and John Stene to connect and reconnect with key decision makers.
“All of them gave us hope,” said Baltich. “They tell us ‘we’re moving, maybe not moving as fast as you guys would like us to but we’re moving.’ There are so many hoops to jump through, but we’re getting there.”
Mining supporters are working on several fronts to spur copper-nickel mining projects in the region, from supporting legislation that would aid the PolyMet project and defund a study that could lead to a mining ban on federal lands in the region, to appealing for presidential action that would revive the Twin Metals Minnesota project near Ely.
Reaching the White House was part of the focus this week. “We don’t have a definitive answer but we’re closing the gaps,” said Baltich. “From what we’re determining, there are numerous attempts to get key people and personnel to solve this.
We were at a meeting we spoke with a Congressman, and he’s in contact with people who speak directly to Trump.” Cindy Stene added that “there seems to be a barrier, but we need to keep pounding on that brick wall.”
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