Federal, Range Leaders Discuss Proposed Mining Ban Near Boundary Waters

June 19, 2017 10:09 PM

Congressman Rick Nolan and several other elected officials were in Mountain Iron Monday to discuss the proposed mining ban on federal lands. The meeting was not public, but is one of several planned discussions on the proposal by leaders.

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"This proposed withdraw of lands is entirely inappropriate and something we can hopefully get reversed," said Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota's 6th District.

That was the common view at Monday's press conference on the proposed 20-year mining ban near the Boundary Waters.

"We've had mining up here for over 100 years. Ely was a mining town with several mines. People come up to visit because of the beauty of the land. The stewards of the land are the people who live here not the people that don't live and say 'oh, we have to save something' that isn't in danger," said Ely Mayor, Chuck Novak expressing his opposition to the ban.

The group of elected officials toured UTAC in Eveleth before having a meeting on the proposed ban at the RAMS office in Mountain Iron. Congressman Rick Nolan called the meeting a successful discussion on the ban, and controversial topic of having a clean environment and growing mining economy.

"Everybody represented here are local officials, they are labor leaders, they are business leaders, they are community leaders. The belief that we have the brain, we have the science, we have the technology to have both," said Nolan.

He also expressed the importance of mining as a vital part of not just the Range, but the national economy.

"13 percent of our nation's gross national product goes through the Soo Locks," said Nolan."If those locks fail or if that Ore failed to continue to flow, it would throw the country into a Great Depression."

Nolan says he had a great meeting last month with the Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke and says he is confident administration is reviewing the ban. For now, continuing to rally alongside local leaders to reverse the decision is the priority.

"Everybody here is committed to clean air and clean water and the progress that goes with the mining of our minerals," Nolan said. 

The overall consensus was that the meeting was a good step in addressing the concerns of this proposal and next step moving forward. 


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