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You’d better sit down to read this LTE because it features talking in circles. Let me explain.

It says “Although people sometimes paint our campaign as ‘anti-mining,’ we respect the need to maintain that industry in places where it cannot threaten the Boundary Waters.” The definition of anti is “a person who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy, action, etc.” It’s fair to say that someone who opposes mining is anti-mining. Later in the LTE, it says “We truly believe those Minnesotans who want copper mining near the Boundary Waters are sincere when they say they believe it can be done safely and without risk. However, so are we when we say it cannot be done safely and that the risk is too great. Because of this, we will continue to do everything we can to protect this special place for future generations. We appreciate the position of our fellow Minnesotans who don’t agree with us, and we look forward to continuing this debate not as enemies but as members of a community.”

TRANSLATION: We’re opposed to mining but we don’t want to fight over it. Maintaining the anti-mining status quo is what we’re hoping to maintain.

Continuing the debate is a polite way of saying keeping mining interests stalemated. Taking no action is fine with the environmentalists. That’s precisely what they want. That’s because they win stalemates. This sentence is BS:

Everyone weighing in on sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters is doing so because they care about the future of our state and communities.

I don’t buy the notion that Becky Rom and Reid Carron “care about the future of our state and communities.” Carron is quoted as saying “Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here. They are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.”

That isn’t what respectful dialogue sounds like. That’s what know-it-all elitists sound like. This video shows how aggressive Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness are:

NMW is one of the organizations that Mr. Niemela works with. Save the Boundary Waters is another one of the organizations he coordinates with. Check out this handout to find out how hostile NMW and Save the Boundary Waters are. This LTE is nothing more than a political spin job. Niemela is worried that miners are turning against the DFL because the DFL passionately opposes mining. He’s likely worried that a Republican governor, working with GOP majorities in the House and Senate, might sign reform legislation that would support the mining community.

That’s likely Mr. Niemela’s worst nightmare.

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A trip to the Walz-Flanagan campaign website exposes the DFL’s lack of an economic message. Their campaign website doesn’t have an issues page, which is telling. On its homepage, it has a tiny portion of the page dedicated to explain why they’re running. That portion of the page says “running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor to make our vision of One Minnesota a reality. We are united in this vision: A Minnesota where every child has the opportunity to succeed and hope for the future, a Minnesota where the people whose lives are most impacted by public policy choices have a seat at the table, a Minnesota with fair wages, fully funded public schools, and affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege and a Minnesota where we protect our environment, invest in renewable energy and jobs, and maintain our roads, bridges, and transit across the state. We want to bring this vision to the governor’s office and support the Minnesota we know and love.”

In other words, they’re running for Gov. Dayton’s third term. They’re running without explaining what economic goals they’ll fight for.

A quick view of Paul Thissen’s website doesn’t lay out a vision for Minnesota’s economy, either. It talks about how the Supreme Court should protect labor unions. It talks briefly how we should implement single-payer health care statewide. Thissen talks about legalizing marijuana, too. There isn’t anything in that pile of words that sounds like he has a clue about capitalism. Then again, his legislative record hasn’t shown him to have a clue about creating high-paying middle class jobs so we shouldn’t be surprised.

Erin Murphy’s campaign website has a ‘Why I’m Running‘ page but it doesn’t have an issues page, much less an explanation of what economic policies she’d implement.

Of the 4 DFL gubernatorial candidates’ websites that I visited, only Rebecca Otto talked about the economy. Even then, she only spoke about raising the minimum wage:

Across her statewide listening tour Rebecca met hard-working people who are under-compensated, making it hard to make ends meet. This is hurting our families, our communities, and our way of life. Rebecca Otto supports increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. She will also be releasing an economic plan that will help increase wages across the state.

There’s nothing on any of these candidates’ websites that talks about infrastructure, especially pipelines. Why is that? Is it because the DFL’s special interest masters won’t let them support legitimate projects that create middle class wages? Is it because the DFL doesn’t think that fossil fuels will play an important part in our economy?

Finally, it’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand capitalism whatsoever. This morning on At Issue with Tom Hauser, Katharine Tinucci said that cutting the corporate tax rate won’t create jobs because “the rich” won’t invest the money. What an idiot. What wealthy people want most is more money. The best way to get wealthier is by investing that money.

Isn’t it apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand human nature?

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If we know anything about Gov. Dayton, it’s that he’s a political opportunist. This article insists that Gov. Dayton has “shrewd political instincts”, too. J. Patrick Coolican’s article is nothing more than another Strib pro-Dayton puff piece.

It opens by saying “Since Gov. Mark Dayton came out in favor of a controversial proposal by PolyMet to mine copper, nickel and other precious metals in northeastern Minnesota, he and his allies have said that his support is guided by sound environmental and economic policy, not politics. But Dayton’s decision and its timing showed the shrewd political instincts, as well as the loyalty to the DFL Party, that have helped him win statewide office four times. By giving his public support to PolyMet he offered an olive branch to the Iron Range, knowing that he could take the political hit from environmentalists since he’s not running for re-election next year, and at the same time forge a temporary peace in the ongoing conflict.”

Actually, it’s guided by politics. Gov. Dayton hasn’t changed into a consistent supporter of the Range. He’s still opposed to the Twin Metals project. He’s still vehemently opposed to the Line 3 Pipeline project that would create approximately 3 times as many jobs as a typical end-of-session bonding bill would create.

This quote is telling:

“It diminishes PolyMet as an issue going forward. It’s one less flash point. That’s what a responsible steward of his party would do,” said Joe Radinovich, a former DFL state legislator who was U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s 2016 campaign manager.

It hasn’t had that effect whatsoever. It’s telling that Coolican said that Gov. Dayton “could take the political hit from environmentalists since he’s not running for re-election next year.” Doesn’t that mean that the candidates running to replace him can’t afford to get on the environmental activists’ bad side? Further, a page will get turned when the DFL picks their gubernatorial candidate. From that point forward, the Range will make their decision based on that candidate.

This paragraph is telling, too:

For some, it came too late. Dayton’s DFL has taken heavy losses in legislative districts in greater Minnesota, as Republicans have successfully tied them to Twin Cities environmentalists and other progressives at the expense of economic development in struggling communities.

Do the people in this video sound like they’re pro-mining?

Further, Coolican is right. Republicans have flipped rural Minnesota. The DFL have repeatedly proven that they’re anti-farmer, anti-labor. You can’t be anti-mining and pro-labor. You can’t ignore the farmers’ agenda and stay on the farmers’ good side.

This isn’t just about PolyMet. The Range wants to vote for someone who’ll always have their backs. The DFL is still the divided party, with a heavy anti-mining slant:

The DFL factions hit a breaking point recently when Reid Carron, well-known environmentalist in Ely, made disparaging remarks about miners in a Sunday New York Times Magazine story. “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock,” he said, before later apologizing.

It didn’t take long for Gov. Dayton suddenly react to the article:

So Dayton stepped on the fire. Just eight days after publication of the explosive story in the Times, the governor announced in an interview that he favors the PolyMet project if it meets permitting requirements and financial assurances that would protect Minnesota taxpayers in the event of a fiscal or environmental catastrophe.

What a coincidence! Immediately after environmental activists show their true colors, Gov. Dayton made his pro-mining announcement. If he was truly pro-mining, why hasn’t Gov. Dayton done anything to make the permitting process fair and transparent? If he’s truly pro-mining, why didn’t Gov. Dayton take on the environmental activists?

Perhaps, it’s because he’s a political opportunist who isn’t really pro-mining.

Last week, Gov. Dayton announced that he’s finally supporting the PolyMet precious metals project. In this post, I wrote “Why should Rangers tolerate a regulatory system that’s this convoluted? How many studies are enough? How many hearings need to be held? Chip Cravaack tried getting this pushed through when he was in office. He was elected in 2010, the same election that gave us Gov. Dayton. It’s clear that Gov. Dayton hasn’t jettisoned the environmentalists. He’s still siding with the environmentalists on Twin Metals and the Line 3 Pipeline project.”

Speaking of the Line 3 Pipeline project, Rep. Matt Grossell, Rep. Sandy Layman, Rep. Matt Bliss, Rep. Dale Lueck, Rep. Debra Kiel, Sen. Justin Eichorn and Sen. Paul Utke wrote a letter to Gov. Dayton. Their letter’s opening paragraph says “The proposed Line 3 Replacement Project (L3R) is a vital energy infrastructure project for Minnesota and the region that will generate more than $3 billion in private investment. It will create thousands of good-paying construction jobs and provide millions in much-needed tax revenue to local governments in our districts and our region.” Follow this link to read the entire letter.

It isn’t likely that Gov. Dayton will back off. His Commerce Department testified that (a) the L3R isn’t required and (b) the existing pipeline should be shut down. That’s the public part of Gov. Dayton’s policy. That doesn’t mean, though, that he doesn’t see the political difficulties and complexities this might cause the DFL.

Yesterday on @Issue with Tom Hauser, former DFL Chair Brian Melendez said that Gov. Dayton allegedly told environmentalists ‘Good luck with the Republican governor in 2019′, implying that the environmental activists’ demands will hurt the DFL in 2018.

This video is part of the reason why Gov. Dayton won’t abandon environmental activists:

The truth is that Gov. Dayton and the DFL aren’t consistent with their beliefs. First, they’re constantly talking about the importance of infrastructure projects. When this infrastructure project was proposed, though, they ran from it like it was toxic waste. Finally, the DFL is constantly pushing bonding bills as their annual “jobs bill”. This pipeline project is the size of three bonding bills.

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The editors at the Mesabi Daily News are being respectful of Gov. Dayton, though they aren’t letting him off the hook either. In this Our View Editorial, they simply ask what Gov. Dayton meant when he said he supports PolyMet.

It’s clear that the Mesabi Daily News welcomed the headline when they stated “Dayton’s support is more than welcome around the Iron Range, which has been through the ups and downs and review process with the project for more than a decade. Having the top DFLer in Minnesota give it the thumbs up cannot be understated.” Still, they aren’t excited about Gov. Dayton’s statement because they then wrote “But what does Dayton’s support mean to the project in real terms?”

The reason why they don’t trust him is stated clearly when they wrote “Every time PolyMet celebrates a new achievement on its way to breaking ground, a new lawsuit swoops in to try and delay it. Will Dayton help call off the dogs as the project’s bigger milestones enter the horizon?” That’s a totally fair question. It’s easy to say you support mining if you know that environmental activists will file another lawsuit that adds another delay to the project.

There’s a bigger point that’s important to make, too. Why should Rangers tolerate a regulatory system that’s this convoluted? How many studies are enough? How many hearings need to be held? Chip Cravaack tried getting this pushed through when he was in office. He was elected in 2010, the same election that gave us Gov. Dayton.

It’s clear that Gov. Dayton hasn’t jettisoned the environmentalists. He’s still siding with the environmentalists on Twin Metals and the Line 3 Pipeline project. While the lawsuits fly, PolyMet sits in limbo:

If they get through the permitting and the lawsuits, this will be part of PolyMet’s processing plant. So much for preserving pristine waters.

State Sen. David Tomassoni’s op-ed expresses his disgust with Becky Rom and her husband Reid Carron with a sense of humor. This fight started with this article, which includes quotes from Rom and Carron that got under miners’ skin.

Specifically, the quote from Rom that’s bothering Tomassoni and the miners is “Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists.” The quote from Carron that’s got miners upset is “Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here; they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.”

Sen. Tomassoni’s tongue-in-cheek reply starts with “It came to me as I was sitting on my deck drinking a beer (metal chair, a byproduct of mining; wooden deck, from logging; beer, from hops and grains from farming). I thought, now what’s wrong with sitting on my deck and drinking a beer. Then I thought, I wonder if the anti-mining people have metal chairs on their decks? Maybe they don’t. Maybe they have plastic chairs (that came from drilling oil).”

Tomassoni’s needling continued:

Getting hungry, I came into the house for a BLT. I fried some bacon on a metal stove in a copper lined pan. (Copper pans don’t stick and they clean up in a breeze). The bacon was in my metal refrigerator, which has a cooling element going through copper pipes.

Of course, none of that copper was mined on the Iron Range and anti-mining forces seem content to get their copper from another country that has no environmental, safety laws nor child labor laws. I thought, what’s wrong with this picture?

Great environmental laws, child labor laws and safety regulations are good things. Shouldn’t we be doing the mining where all are enforced?

Sen. Tomassoni finishes Rom and Carron off, saying:

That’s why I’m always puzzled when mining opponents say they will support projects: “If the science proves it safe.”

Well, let’s see:

We have been mining for 135 years in virtually the same area that PolyMet will mine. PolyMet will use a former iron ore mining site to process the ore.
The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board recently published an environmental report card on Minnesota’s statewide water quality. Guess where you’ll find the only area that has really good water? Yup. Right here in Northeastern Minnesota. The heart of mining country IS the Land of Sky Blue Waters. Pretty good science if you ask me.

Rom and Carron aren’t trustworthy people. Rom is especially willing to mislead.

Our history proves we helped America become a global economic powerhouse. We need minerals, paper, lumber and food from our own backyards and we can provide them in a safe and reliable manner.

So, back on my deck with my beer and BLT, I couldn’t help but think that the environmentalists must drink beer too. Maybe even one of those craft beers made in those great big copper vats. But hey, at least we have something in common. Or maybe we have a lot in common as we all need mining and mining jobs.

Apology accepted. Now show me it’s sincere.

After last week’s fiasco in Duluth, in which protestors shut down public testimony on the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline project, St. Cloud officials exercised caution for Thursday’s planned testimony for the Public Utilities Commission. In the end, Mayor Kleis opted to not hold the hearing. That means the anti-pipeline protestors have won a victory just by threatening a hearing.

St. Cloud Mayor Kleis explained his thinking for shutting down the event, saying “Based on the size of the event and some of the challenges at previous meetings, there’s a cost. The costs have to be met and a plan needs to be in place that meets the public safety needs based on the assessment that our police give us. For Thursday night, based on the crowd (expected) and other use of the facility, the venue would be problematic unless they can meet those demands. It’s their choice to make, but we need to make sure the public and taxpayers are safe.”

Minnesota Petroleum Council Executive Director Erin Roth issued a statement Wednesday night, saying “There’s no doubt that today’s decision to cancel the public meeting on Line 3 is disappointing. What’s worse is that communities are put in this position by highly coordinated protest activities that actively obstruct civil discourse, stifle free speech, and disrespect those in attendance who are there to respectfully voice their opinion. Minnesotans deserve an open and transparent process that examines this important infrastructure project and the benefits that would come from it.”

Last week, anti-pipeline thugs stopped a public hearing in Duluth’s Entertainment & Convention Center, aka the DECC. (I wrote about that event here.) These thugs’ intent is to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with them. This paragraph sums everything up perfectly:

Proponents say the line is an essential piece of infrastructure for petroleum shippers and refineries in the region. Opponents say the pipeline won’t benefit Minnesota, and that it threatens Minnesota’s watershed and the Mississippi River headwaters.

I’ve heard the environmental terrorists’ predictions for 40+ years. They’ve been off by incredible amounts each time they’ve made a prediction. When the Sierra Club opposed the Alaskan Pipeline, the Sierra Club said that North Slope and Prudhoe Bay would pump oil for 4-5 years. The pipeline opened in 1977. It’s still transporting oil in 2017.

Here’s what the approval process has looked like for Enbridge:

Everything is wrong with that picture.

This article highlights the thinking of the anti-mining special interests. It also highlights the attempts by the DFL to distance themselves from the dominant wing of the DFL.

First, the article quoted Becky Rom’s and Reid Carron’s disparaging quotes about the mining industry. Carron is quoted as saying “Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here. They are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” Meanwhile, Rom is quoted as saying that “Ely council member and mining advocate Dan Forsman ‘drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists,’ referring to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”

Thanks to social media (and websites like LFR), their comments went viral. One of the first to react was “Jason George, political and special projects director for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, [who] said ‘it disgusts me. There is no other way to put it. In my opinion, and in my experience sitting through public hearing after public hearing listening to environmental activists dismiss and belittle construction jobs, the sentiments expressed by Rom and Carron very accurately reflect the way most anti-mining, anti-pipeline, and anti-development groups really feel about the hardworking people of northern Minnesota. Minnesota’s blue-collar workers, the men and women I am proud to fight for, deserve better.'”

Mike Kinsley once infamously said that a gaffe is when you accidentally tell the truth. That’s what happened here. Carron and Rom made the mistake of saying what they truly felt to a magazine reporter from New York. They never thought Minnesotans would hear their statements. Here’s the guilty (married) couple:

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin, in his attempt to keep the DFL together, embarrassed himself:

Amid an intraparty battle between pro-mining union members and environmental interests that have stepped up opposition to copper-nickel projects, Martin said “These judgmental comments wrongfully disparage thousands of hard-working Minnesotans. There’s no question that the issue of mining in northern Minnesota is a contentious one. But there’s no room in the debate for sharp-tongued attacks on Minnesotans who work hard every day to provide for their families and support our state’s economy. Here in Minnesota, we value civility. We treat each other with respect. We must keep this debate healthy, productive, and focused on the issue at hand. Because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: a better life for our family and a brighter future for our state.”

That’s outright BS. Mining isn’t a contentious issue. I’ll stipulate that it’s a complicated issue for the DFL but that’s only because they’re too spineless to stand up to the dominant anti-mining wing of the DFL. If Martin had a spine, he would’ve forcefully criticized Rom for saying that “anti-mining forces would gain an advantage ‘one funeral at a time.'”

The Bible says that you “can’t serve two masters.” That’s what Martin is attempting to do. Using a different metaphor, he’s trying to mix oil with water. Good luck with that.

In an apology released to a Duluth television station and later sent to the Echo, Rom and Carron wrote that Carron’s was “disrespectful and untrue.” “First and most important, the statement is untrue with respect to the thousands of people across northeastern Minnesota who work hard every day and who believe that developing copper mines will provide worthwhile economic opportunities for them, for people they care about, and for our communities,” they wrote. “We respect people who get up at 4:30 am to drive to work in Minnesota’s taconite mines. Second, the statement is untrue because it does not reflect what we think. Living in the Ely community, we depend on people all the time who we know hold a different view than we do on whether copper mining would be a good thing. When we do business with them, they are helpful and generous, and we treat each other with mutual respect.

“For Reid to say that people like that are sitting around waiting for a big mining company to give them a job or Becky to question if Dan Forsman has been into the Boundary Waters is disrespectful. We apologize for these statements.”

I don’t trust this apology. Why trust someone that’s lied to newspapers about how they tried to secretly sabotage an entire industry?

Finally, check out this quote:

“Reid Carron’s description of people who support copper-nickel mining is nothing short of disgusting,” said Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota. “This is an important conversation that requires each of us to work to understand each other’s perspectives on the issue so we can reach a positive resolution. There is no place for demeaning fellow Minnesotans.”

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This article highlights the fact that environmental activists aren’t trustworthy. For years, we’ve heard activists from the Sierra Club, Conservation Minnesota and Friends of the Boundary Waters tell us that the sulfur embedded within the copper deposits will stunt the growth of wild rice while poisoning the water.

Pro-mining people questioned the environmental activists’ claims throughout. We’re finding out why the pro-mining people were skeptical. First, before getting into that, I wrote about a University of Minnesota study on wild rice growth a couple years ago. The study reported that rice growth was stunted except when there was high concentrations of iron in the water. The study found that iron mitigated the damage sulfur caused to the rice.

I said back then that there was a pretty high probability that water flowing through the Iron Range would have high concentrations of iron in it. Back then, I quoted from an LTE that said “In 2013 the state hired the University of Minnesota to do a scientific study of the effects of sulfates on wild rice and to determine what the standard should be. Also the Minnesota chamber hired an independent laboratory to do the same. Both studies agree that sulfate is not toxic to wild rice. The studies also found that if sulfates turn to sulfides it does slow the growth of wild rice. However if there is iron present in the water, iron combines with the sulfides and doesn’t allow the sulfides to affect the wild rice.”

This picture is worth thousands of words of anti-mining spin:

The caption reads “A Picture Worth a Thousand Words: Much has been written lately about how sulfate discharges from mines may stunt wild rice growth. Here is a photo of wild rice on Birch Lake (Dunka Bay) ‘stunted’ by sulfate discharges in the Dunka River from the Dunka and Northshore mines. Why are new studies needed when actual results already exist? Photo by Pete Pastika.” Good question, Pete. Personally, I think the time for studies is over. The time for Minnesota to approve the final permits is now.

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It isn’t a secret that I don’t buy into the Twin Cities media’s depiction of the DFL as one big happy family but with a couple minor differences that aren’t worth talking about. Frankly, I think that storyline is about as dishonest as Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.

If I got $10 for every person that’s read one of my ‘the DFL is totally nuts’ posts, I’d own an island in the Caribbean. I’ve written how the DFL has essentially rejected blue collar Minnesota. If I can highlight anything or re-inforce anything, that’s what I’d highlight or re-inforce. The differences are real and growing.

I think I’m the only Minnesota journalist that predicted that Republicans would flip the Minnesota Senate to a GOP majority. The reason I made that prediction is because the DFL rift between white collar Minnesota and blue collar Minnesota is getting bigger. Attitudes are getting more hostile towards each other, too.

Harold Hamilton has his finger on Minnesota’s pulse. Each Friday, Harold writes a commentary. This week’s commentary is on this exact subject. What’s most entertaining about Harold’s commentary is when he wrote “The arrogance of the urban liberal is a sight to behold. It’s also been somewhat amusing to watch DFL leaders dance on the head of a pin trying to explain away the civil war as a mere squabble between two key constituencies of the DFL. More importantly, it’s more than presumptuous to call the construction trades a ‘DFL constituency.'”

The thought that the DFL isn’t fighting a civil war is laughable. Harold highlights it with DFL activists’ quotes:

“Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here – they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” – Reid Carron, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

“Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists.” – Becky Rom, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, speaking of pro-mining Ely city councilman Dan Forsman

“I’m not saying we are writing off the Iron Range. But you don’t need the Iron Range to win statewide.” – DFL Chairman Ken Martin

[Editor’s note: Reid Carron is married to Becky Rom.] Ken Martin isn’t trying to hide the fact that he knows the DFL can all but officially write off the Range. There’s a reason why President Trump defeated Hillary by 15 points on the Range. This is my favorite part of Harold’s commentary:

DFL happy talk of “uniting” around common issues in 2018 is fantasy. And just what are those “unifying” issues, pray tell? Mining? Pipelines? Transgender bathrooms? Gun grabbing? Abortion on demand? Banning menthol cigarettes? Banning plastic bags? Trigger words? Safe spaces? Sanctuary cities? Re-naming Asian Carp so as not to offend?

Does this hearing look like a search for common ground?

Let’s get serious. That looks like the undercard for a mixed martial arts championship fight.

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