Mining in Minnesota -- regulation needed

  • Article by: Rolf Westgard
  • Updated: June 20, 2013 - 9:10 PM

This is a potentially significant industry for the northeastern part of the state. Regulation is needed, and can succeed.

  • 23
  • Comments

  • Results per page:
supervon2Jun. 20, 13 9:25 PM

The big problem is the trust fund babies that have never worked a day in their life and believe that others can live at the same level on nothing. People need jobs. Real jobs. Jobs with pride. Not government freebie jobs that are at the whim of bureaucrat.

12
24
nspa4268Jun. 20, 1311:43 PM

The last sentence Josephine Marcotty wrote stands the test. Despite Rolf Westgard's statement about the Flambeau mine, it did pollute the Flambeau River. No known copper mining venture on earth has not polluted the nearby waters. We are talking about sulfuric acid! Are the jobs worth the risk? The pollution will go directly into the BWCA from the Twin Metals Project, into the St. Louis River and Lake Superior for the Polymet project. Why would we, or even the job hungry people who live nearby want this. Remember, the BWCA and Lake Superior belong to all of us, including our great grand children. AND did you all know that Chile alone, home of Antofaugasta has enough copper reserves to supply world demand for many many years. We do not need this copper in water rich, water fragile Minnesota. Other than jobs, this makes no sense. Jobs, jobs jobs is a selfish attitude. Preservation of water is a Christian (or any other religion including Ojibwa) holistic earth saving attitude. Think not about jobs for you but clean water and wild places for your grandchildren.

21
13
elmore1Jun. 21, 13 5:16 AM

Really disappointed in Dayton, Al and Amy for blindly supporting anything that will get them more votes. We need thoughtful, visionary leaders to make certain that the long term effects are known prior to jumping into this. Our knee jerk approach is potentially dangerous.

8
15
TeddyWelshJun. 21, 13 6:45 AM

I have question about the jobs that any such mining would provide. Are these jobs such that local people would be the ones hired? Or would they be filled by people with specific skills coming from elsewhere. In North Dakota many of the high paying oil jobs are filled by people from other states because those people have the knowledge and experience. Also, how many jobs would be created and for how long?

12
6
ReidCarronJun. 21, 13 6:56 AM

Mr. Westgard's article is a typical mining puff piece. Contrary to his recitation of the industry's standard talking points about the Flambeau Mine, in 2012 that mine was cited by a federal judge for multiple Clean Water Act violations. But, perhaps the most blatant deception in Mr. Westgard's sales pitch is his effort to perpetuate the myth that the State of Minnesota can regulate mining companies. For decades, the State has granted virtually any pollution variance a mining company wants. In the recent past, the state has passed legislation to allow the IRRRB to make loans to mining companies prior to environmental review and to exempt fugitive emissions from regulation. The mining industry and its corporate and political supporters are currently attempting to gut Minnesota's sulfate standards for wild rice waters. The State recently withdrew from a St. Louis River mercury study partnership that included the State of Wisconsin, the EPA, and the Fond du Lac band. The reasons offered for the withdrawal were transparently false. Our governor has stated that he wants to do away with the EPA—which is the federal agency that blew the whistle on the perpetual pollution revealed in PolyMet's draft environmental impact statement. If copper nickel mining is permitted in Northeastern Minnesota, the long-term result will be pollution, destruction, and poverty that will rival anything West Virginia can offer.

12
11
armybratJun. 21, 13 7:33 AM

Mining is one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the country. Liberal do not want more regulation, what they really want is to ban all mining. Case in point: Attempting to stop sand from being mined in MN. It is sand. Not coal. Not fracking. Not anything harmful to the environment.

11
15
docgeddyJun. 21, 13 9:37 AM

We know that all natural resources will be exploited until they are not longer financially valuable (has that ever happened?). But let's consider ALL resources. In the coming centuries fresh water will increase in economic and human value. Whether it's frac sand or copper/sulfide, the real expense of mining is the irreplaceable water table. If that's jeopardized, the surface water "accidents" will appear very small beer indeed. Minnesota's freshwater resource is it's most valuable one.

12
5
imkirokJun. 21, 13 9:48 AM

The Flambeau mine has been closed for 14 years, and they are still finding polluted waters and elevated toxin levels in the area. The cost to mitigate and restore the pollution is in the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. While the mine was operating, unemployment and poverty went up in Rusk County, so no, mines aren't necessarily good for the economy and don't always add jobs.

14
5
owatonnabillJun. 21, 13 9:54 AM

Interesting piece. Owatonnabill doubts that there is any thinking person out there who wouldn't want strong, common-sense regulations in place for mining near the BWCA or any place else, for that matter. But the real points of this article are implicit. These world-class (read also "extremely profitable") deposits are near the BWCA, not out in some godforsaken badland in Oklahoma or Kansas (though if they were you could bet the farm that there'd be this-or-that environmentalist group out there strongly advocating for some spider or lizard that would be IRREVOCABLY DAMAGED if mining were allowed on the land it inhabits). The second point is that the product would be going in very large part (as the article mentions) into clean energy equipment such as windmills and energy storage technology. Again, thinking people realize that in mining, despite the best common-sense regulations, some pollution is inevitable. So it is a trade-off. What are acceptable levels of pollution in one area, so that there are LESS levels of pollution in other areas? Windmills are cleaner than coal mines or nuclear reactors, after all, and if a little pollution near the BWCA results in significantly less pollution in other areas of the country, that seems to be a equitable trade-off to owatonnabill. A little pollution now, versus a lot less pollution later, as it were. Sure, it would be an easier issue to resolve were those deposits near Sagebrush Junction, OK, but they're not. They're here. It is a tremendous resource. Mining it will create jobs and income and will result in less pollution in America overall. Let's use a little common sense here and make the most of that resource.

4
14
twspt7Jun. 21, 1310:13 AM

I would suggest that the water will prove to be far more valuable in the coming years than the copper.

17
5

Comment on this story   |  

ADVERTISEMENT

  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT