Dueling Rallies about PolyMet Held Simultaneously | www.WDIO.com

Dueling Rallies about PolyMet Held Simultaneously

October 13, 2015 07:16 PM

Environmental groups had been organizing an event to protest PolyMet for weeks. They met at a park in St. Paul, where speakers and live music were set up. It appeared about 75 people attended.

Then they marched to the DNR headquarters, and delivered petitions to the agency asking them to stop PolyMet, which could be the first copper-nickel project in Minnesota.

Leaders like Steve Mors, from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, said, "The message today is this project does not meet basic health, safety, water standards for Minnesota."

The news of the anti-PolyMet rally in the Twin Cities spurred Range leaders into action.

So with just a few days of planning, they organized an event in Aurora. It started at the same time as the one in St. Paul.

The Range rally drew in several hundred people, including tradesmen and women, business owners, engineers, and community leaders.

Then, before the speeches began, the student body from the Mesabi East School paraded down the street to join the crowd.

Bob Sommers, a high school history teacher, said, "The kids were excited to be part of this. Many of their parents work in the mine or related field."

Mayors from around the Range stood on a large platform, which was placed behind the centennial plaque for Aurora.

Aurora's mayor Mary Hess welcomed the students, and said, "This is the future we are fighting for, theirs and even further in the future."

Mayor Mark Skelton, of Hoyt Lakes, roused the crowd. "Are we doing to let a vocal minority dictate our future?" The crowd said, "No!"

Skelton mentioned he has been to the Eagle Mine in the UP, and said, "Modern mining can be done right."

One of the men who could help build PolyMet, Ken Gileck, works for Lakehead Constructors. "I'm outdoors every day. I believe we can mine and do it with minimal impact on the environment."

PolyMet sent a statement about the rally in Aurora. It said that the company knows Iron Rangers have been more than patient with the environmental review process, and they trust in the process. PolyMet is humbled by that trust, deeply appreciates the support, and remains committed to doing this the right way.

The project's final Environmental Impact Statement is due out in November.


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