Mining opponents: You think you know Ely's needs?

  • Article by: Joe Baltich
  • Updated: August 31, 2013 - 6:00 PM

A message to Twin Cities residents who oppose mining because they want to save the BWCA for the day they might visit.

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pumiceAug. 31, 13 6:17 PM

Re: "We’ve committed to a lifetime of eking out a living when we could have just as easily moved to some metro area for better pay." Looks like residents of the Twin Cities are not the only ones who "somehow know more about and have greater concern for [someone else's] back yard", Mr. Baltich.

gutshotAug. 31, 13 7:23 PM

Ok, help me out here, please. What caused the current demise of Ely - the closing (due to depletion of ore) of the mines or the creation of the BWCA? Mining isn't necessarily all that romantic. Noted evangelist Billy Sunday once (during mining's heyday) said, "The only difference between Ely and Hell is that Ely has a railroad to it." And, don't forget the nearly perpetual labour strife in the mining days of old. If sulfide rock mining is allowed and there is no environmental disaster (far from certain) what will happen to Ely when the copper/nickel etc is depleted? Will it revert back to its current status? Where will it be when mining ends if the waters/land are polluted from the sulfide compounds? Will the current multinational companies proposing copper-nickel mining stick around to "support" those who now support them when the profits dry up? What does history tell us about that? What are the steel companies doing to address the elevated rates of cancer on the range? Will the new mining multinationals remain to support those who now so faithfully support them? There are no easy answers. The Ely area needs a better and lasting economy. Shouldn't mining be allowed ONLY if it can be done safely AND with adequate financial reserves in the event a costly "clean up" becomes necessary. And, wouldn't it be nice if current mining opportunities, if allowed, are paired with the development of clean and sustainable alternatives? Does this really need to be an "us (locals) versus them (visitors)" name calling battle? Isn't there some common ground to serve the lasting interests of all. Imagine an Ely with a prosperous and everlasting economy -- then the big problem will be to keep the California immigrants from despoiling it all!!!

albundy74Aug. 31, 13 7:29 PM

Excellent letter Mr. Baltich. Not many give any thought to the people who live and work around Ely when they return from their once in three years BWCA trip. Mining can be done safely and without wrecking the BWCA environment. It will take a combination of technology and heavy-handed diligence to make sure that no shortcuts are taken with safety or waste. The decision to allow mining should be made by those who live in the region.

garcialaterAug. 31, 13 8:08 PM

This land is our land. Ely doesn't own the area outside of the city limits any more than anyone else in the state. Sulfide mining. It even sounds carcinogenic.

tituspulloAug. 31, 13 8:46 PM

Hey Joe, we're the ones that have kept your little slice of heaven relevant and running. Had it not been for the people that apparently you despise, Ely would have been a ghost town long ago. No worries however, I can easily put in over at Sawbill. I know they appreciate the business.

Lifeguard06Aug. 31, 13 8:56 PM

Typical responses to someone from outside the 494 694. I'm glad I only use MSP to get to and from work. And hopefully with the UsAirways American Merger I can get to Philly without stopping in MSP.

mgvetterAug. 31, 13 9:29 PM

I agree with Joe. I have always found it interesting how smug and self righteous the "Green" movement is. It's really easy to be extremely Eco conscious when your living is made in the public sector or in finance or other careers that don't develope callouses. There are ways to log, mine,and develope in an Eco friendly way and they should be allowed to grow.

luxaeternaAug. 31, 13 9:35 PM

Why do we have to save Ely? There are dozens of ghost towns throughout the region into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that were prosperous mining towns a hundred years ago. Today, those towns are gone. That's the nature of mining. When you've dug out the ore, there's nothing more for anyone to do (except maybe clean up the mess the mining companies made).

margeanncullenAug. 31, 13 9:51 PM

I am pretty sure my state taxes help pay for the clean ups left behind by the mining companies that leave after depleting the areas.

jd55604Aug. 31, 13 9:54 PM

Great article. More and more young people are leaving this area only to be replaced by part-time elderly residents who really aren't energetic, enthusiastic members of the community with kids, full-time jobs or a desire to take part in any local politics. These places are ghost towns 7 months a year. Being 100% dependent on tourism is not a smart plan for any town. These locals should be allowed to have a chance at some of the same jobs the rest of the people in our state enjoy. They deserve a chance to do something more than clean your hotel rooms or pack your canoes for minimum wage just because it suits you 2 days a year.


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