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Nolan, Emmer Amendment Aims to Stop Mining Ban

September 08, 2017 10:08 PM

Congressman Rick Nolan brought three Republican colleagues to the Range this summer for a mining tour.

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Fellow Minnesotan Rick Emmer spoke out against a ban on mining near the Boundary Waters.

"This proposed withdrawal of lands is entirely inappropriate and something we can hopefully get reversed," he said then.

Now, an amendment written by Emmer and Nolan would effectively stop the withdrawal. It would prohibit funding from being used to pay for the environmental study that the U.S. Forest Service is working on, that's focused on a 20-year ban of mineral exploration on federal lands.

The amendment passed the U.S. House on Thursday, and is now in a fiscal 2018 federal spending package.

The Save the Boundary Waters campaign called this a dangerous amendment.

Dave Zentner, from the Izaak Walton League in Duluth, spoke with us. "It's disappointing. When Rick ran for office, he said Congress doesn't work hard enough and dark of night amendments are not the way to do business. But now he's consistently cutting off my voice, and the voice of thousands of people in the 8th District and the state of Minnesota who don't believe he's credible when he says we'll get this done right."

Nolan's spokesman said the congressman was unable to comment with Eyewitness News on Friday due to votes in the House. But he said that the passage of the spending package could take months.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Congressman Erik Paulsen, both of Minnesota, oppose the amendment, according to Save the Boundary Waters.


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