Mining, logging, shipping, power and business leaders share input with Stauber

Updated: October 15, 2020 08:12 PM

Mining trucks, utility trucks, ice-breakers, and fellow bunchers drive the economy. And leaders from those industries are constantly working to make sure they stay competitive.

Congressman Pete Stauber wanted to hear what's happening on the ground, so he can continue to advocate for them out in D.C.

He hosted a roundtable with people who are leaders in shipping, mining, power, timber and logging, and business. For about an hour, he asked them questions about policy, current and proposed.

Deb DeLuca, the executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, acknowledged that more ice-breaking capability would help our region, but it's been bypassed in recent years.

Across the table from her was Kelsey Johnson, president of the Iron Mining Association. She stressed that the Section 232 tariffs have helped, and that they've seen Mexico implement their own tariffs recently on Chinese steel. "It's definitely made it a more level playing field than it's been in more than a generation," she said.

Minnesota Power said that they ran into supply chain issues with China before, when they were trying to build a wind farm. So they want domestic mining to remain a priority. Frank Frederickson, VP of customer experience, said, "Our region has 90% of those critical materials. We need access to a secure supply chain."

Logging and timber folks are frustrated about an interpretation of language regarding biofuel and renewable energy. Pete Wood, from Wood Forest Products said this about the EPA, "Their job is to keep us working. And they are actually hurting us."

Brian Hanson, from APEX, said there is a company looking to invest $150 million dollars right here, but there needs to be a definition about the fuel source.

Scott Dane, from the Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota, said that tariffs have helped get the mill in Bemidji up to capacity. 

Stauber pledged to bring this input back to D.C.

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