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Reaction to President Trump's Mining Comments

Updated: October 11, 2019 06:37 PM

Interviewing the President of the United States doesn't happen every day for Iron Range reporter Renee Passal. But it did on Thursday evening, before the campaign rally in Minneapolis.

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She said that the White House gave her a five minute window to ask questions. Being from the Range, mining was her first priority.

President Trump said, "President Obama closed the Iron Range, he closed that whole area. You couldn't do anything. They have the finest iron ore in the world. They say -- I don't know what that means exactly, but I've heard that for a long time -- makes the finest of everything, and I opened it. Took a lot of heat and from various people, including environmentalists, and I was very proud to take it. And I'll never forget, a man came up to me and said, "Sir, you saved our way of life." And it just -- I still remember it like -- like today, said, "You saved our way of life, by opening up the Iron Range." So, now they're doing fantastically, and I'm very proud of it."

Viewers have questioned what he meant by closing and opening the Range. WDIO reached out to the White House for clarification, but have not heard back as of news time. 

Environmental groups believe it has to do with the renewal of the Twin Metals leases and cancellation of a study on mining near the Boundary Waters. Dave Zentner, an active member of the Izaak Walton League in Duluth, said, "The people of Minnesota don't want mining there. All that evidence that was uncovered in what was to be the 2-year scientific study, this president interrupted. The evidence said that the Boundary Waters will be harmed by the Twin Metals project." 

The other viewpoint came from Ely's mayor, Chuck Novak. He said over the phone on Friday that even though mayors across the Range may have differing political views, they believe that what comes out of the administration has been positive for Northeast Minnesota. "All we're asking, when it comes to Twin Metals, is for the agencies to follow the law."

The president previously held a mining and shipping roundtable in Duluth when he visited in 2018.

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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