Mining presentation to the choir
Listening to a presentation on mining at the Twin Metals Minnesota headquarters in Ely Thursday afternoon were four members of the Minnesota House of Representatives. From what we could tell, this was just preaching to the choir.
The four are Republicans from a variety of locations throughout the state - from a farmer near Crookston to a businessman near Wayzata.
They were in the heart of DFL country to find out more about mining projects. Their comments were all positive in regard to the Twin Metals project and mining in general.
This is a new committee, the House Committee on Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy. We have committee members from our neck of the woods including David Dill, Carly Melin and Jason Metsa, all DFLers and all very supportive of mining projects.
Which led to a logical question while listening to the presentation: If the Republicans from around the state and the DFLers from the Range are in support of mining, who do those who are opposed turn to?
And if the majority elects our representatives and senators, those who oppose any type of mining must be truly in the minority. Maybe that’s why they seem so upset when they speak. They know that their only recourse is to file lawsuits and use the system to try to halt development.
After an hour with the Republican (the party that controls Minnesota’s House of Representatives) lawmakers, there just may very well be a future for projects like PolyMet and Twin Metals.
The people of the Range and the state of Minnesota have elected people who support mining and those people are in the right positions to see these projects succeed.
If you’re wondering about local government, the message there is the same. Council members present Thursday made that clear as well.
How about the county? St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina is about as pro-mining as it gets. His support for the Twin Metals project is unabashed.
He flushed away the rallying cry that tourism is the driving force in Ely.
“Drive down the streets here. We can’t even keep a Pizza Hut open,” said Rukavina. “The only reason Ely survives in the winter is because there’s probably 500 retired miners with their good pension and the 100 active miners with their good salaries that keep Ely going.”
No one disagreed. Maybe because he was preaching to the choir.