Dayton’s actions against Twin Metals lack common sense and may be illegal
Three weeks ago we pointed out Governor Mark Dayton’s bizarre behavior in regard to Twin Metals.
On March 3, Dayton has said he wouldn’t interfere with the DNR in regard to the agency’s approval of the PolyMet EIS.
“I am not going to interfere with the work of the agencies.”
On March 6 Dayton ignored his previous comments in a letter to Twin Metals.
“I have directed the DNR not to authorize or enter into any new state access agreements or lease agreements for mining operations on those state lands.”
In February Dayton said he wouldn’t approve any Twin Metals issues until the PolyMet project finishes going through the regulatory process.
There isn’t a hint of common sense in that declaration and there certainly isn’t any in his latest effort to kill (in the words of the Ely city council) “the largest economic development project in Ely in the past 50 years.”
We’re searching for some hint of common sense in Dayton’s actions. Finding none, we turned to social media for a taste of what Minnesotans opposed to Dayton’s decision think.
Here’s a few examples:
“Just filling his ex-wife’s demands. Being the little grunt he is. Hard to think for yourself when you are on chronic pain killers!”
“Even if they did pollute the Boundary Waters, in 10 years nobody would even notice because nobody will be going there, you can’t paddle a canoe with a phone in your hand and these kids aren’t going anywhere it doesn’t work anyway!”
“Why aren’t the local unions screaming bloody murder......oh because they support Dayton.”
“He and Becky Rom chairman of the environ”mental”ist group should get a room!”
“It is pretty sad that Governor Dayton cares more about a wolf or a moose than the livelihood of a person getting a decent job.”
To clarify, Dayton’s first wife, Alida Rockefeller Messinger, is a board member on Conservation Minnesota, and working to stop Twin Metals and PolyMet. She has funded numerous environmental organizations as well as Dayton’s gubernatorial campaigns.
We’d also like to point out that Dayton’s actions are in opposition to the state of Minnesota constitution and statutes.
The state has a legal obligation to promote mining. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr pointed this out when he spoke in Ely four years ago.
“Statutes say it is the purpose of the state of Minnesota to promote and foster mining,” said Landwehr.
Dayton may be standing on very shaky legal ground with his action against Twin Metals.
He certainly has shown the DFL Divide of metro versus outstate. The Range delegation and Rep. Rick Nolan have condemned Dayton for his actions.
His support comes from metro DFLers and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum who doesn’t represent northeast Minnesota. Her district is the east side of the metro.
In a Feb. 2 letter to the departments of Agriculture and Interior as well as the White House, McCollum calls for denying the renewal of copper-nickel mining leases and prospecting permits in the Superior National Forest, as well as a 20-year withdrawal of federal leases in the Rainy River drainage basin.
To be clear, Dayton has no support from elected officials in Northeast Minnesota. Not the Range delegation, not area mayors and not the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools.
The letter from eight legislators asking Dayton to approve the Twin Metals request includes this statement:
“The investment Twin Metals hopes to make in Northeast Minnesota in 2016 and beyond is vital to our communities already reeling from job losses and plant closures in the taconite industry.”
Dayton isn’t looking to help northeastern Minnesota, he’s looking to sabotage our economic future. And he doesn’t have to face voters in the next election to answer for his actions.
There is no common sense here. Dayton did not let the process work. He apparently has no faith or belief in the laws of our state. He ignores and overrules state agencies. He doesn’t listen to the people who represent our corner of the state.
Dayton has turned out to be a major disappointment to the people of northeast Minnesota who are fighting for their economic future. They didn’t know they would be fighting the governor as well.