Deal made in 1978 now ignored by those who made it
by Joe Baltich Jr., Ely resort owner
Sometime around 1978 when they put the BWCA law in place, the State of Minnesota, the Sierra Club and the mining industry got together to draft a new set of mining rules regulating the installation of mines to further protect the BWCA.
They drafted a law that was so restrictive toward building any new mine, with a long list of criteria that said what a new mine would have to meet in order to get the final permit of approval from the state.
The mining industry, knowing that fighting the Sierra Club and their usual lying propaganda was expensive and pointless, acquiesced to the long list of requirements for new mine development, resolving to live with the present day operations and do the best they could with that.
The Sierra Club and other enviro-groups, along with the state and the mining industry, all signed the agreement that effectively shut down any new mine development given the technology of the time. The enviros cheered and drank champagne from tall fluted crystal glasses made from mined silica while everybody else went home.
Fast-forward to 2005. Duluth Metals and PolyMet put forth new, patented technology that could do what nobody even imagined in 1978. With this new tech, plus light-years of advancements in mining technology, it appears these companies could meet and exceed all of the requirements in that agreement.
The enviro groups screamed and hollered for Minnesota to stop this madness! No new mines, remember the agreement! Minnesota read the agreement and said PolyMet appeared capable of doing every requirement on the list, so they decided to give them a try using the exhaustive, extensive, decade-long permitting process to prove they can meet the requirements.
The furor of protest sounded as the enviro groups claimed this is unfair and that they never agreed to this! At that point, Minnesota showed the enviro-screamers the agreement and asked them, “Isn’t that YOUR signature on the bottom of this agreement - the one here with this long list of requirements? Did you not agree that a mine could be built IF and ONLY IF it met all of these requirements insisted upon by YOU back in 1978?”
“Well,” the enviro-groups sputtered, “that was then, this is NOW, and besides - we were drunk. We were under duress. Our dog died the night before and the kids were crying! We didn’t know what to do....”
“That’s enough” replied the state. “We’re going to proceed with this new mine proposal that can meet the standards you, us and them, agreed to in 1978!”
At that point, having no real recourse, the enviro-groups whipped up the world of “No” sayers, and began a grass roots campaign to lie, derail and destroy those who would dare support this mine that met all of THEIR requirements.
They formed several groups made up of the same people. They began emailing and getting on to liberal media outlets to spread the word how Minnesota is destroying the Boundary Waters by mining for sulfides.
They used the word “sulfide” possibly because it sounds like “cyanide” - a word that resonates with every American as a severely toxic-sounding poison used to put down heinous criminals.
They ignored the fact that these same sulfides (sulfur salts which are in just about everything) have been laying in the open, on the ground all over the BWCA for millennia. They claimed the water was orange in the Kawishiwi River (and it is - has been for 10,000 years due to bog stain/ tannic acid) and was due to sulfide mining when the water originates from within the hallowed BWCA where no development has existed. They declared it the sixth most polluted river in North America due to non-existent copper-nickel mining.
They made websites about “Saving the BWCA” as if there is a clear and present, current day threat when actual BWCA usage is declining, perhaps due to their very lies and propaganda. They continued to try to instill panic by declaring the entire Boundary Waters toxic due to sulfides in the water, and some people believed them for lack of any other knowledge.
They blatantly choose to disregard the real science put forth by a Democrat-controlled Minnesota Pollution Control Agency report which cost millions in public tax dollars. It proves what they say is complete fallacy, utter zealotry and a misrepresentation of the actual, proven facts.
This mining proposal - of which they signed off in the late ’70s - is now about gaining power, control and money to pay for their higher-member jet plane trips to exotic locales to “study” environmental concerns world-wide. This action creates more self-perpetuating money sources. They raise the alarms for panic around the world and their members get free, expensive adventures to study coral reefs in Tahiti via kayak.
They return home and raise another alarm about coral dying and their phony credibility increases (he’s not a scientist - he’s a lawyer) and more money comes in upon the dissemination of findings by a lay-person, not even a bona fide scientist with standards and the scientific method. They then prey on “useful idiots” to help the “funding” come in.
Only a handful of people know this, and it is very easy for the enviro-groups to combat. After all, who doesn’t want to save the environment? Who among all of us doesn’t want to have clean water and air? It’s incredibly easy to get people to sign petitions seeking the ban of dihydrogen-monoxide because they are finding it in newborn babies.
And it is incredibly easy to get people to want to help out by sending a buck or two if the cause sounds reasonable just because enviro-groups know that many of their supporters are too mentally lazy to actually take an in-depth look. This model has now been proven ad nauseam by the world of politics in the last seven years. “You have to vote on the bill first to get a chance to see what you are actually buying.” We saw where that took us.
The sad part is, this whole anti-mining thing is about cash flow for the environmental groups’ upper-level members. They take some pretty nice vacations and it’s all for “free” while being a non-profit organization with money coming in from the federal government to boot. This is who we are up against. It’s a hard fight.
Follow the money.