Once again, the Twin Cities DFL voted to drive another nail in the miners’ coffin:
The state Executive Council in St. Paul voted 3-1 to delay the leases pending a decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals on whether an Environmental Assessment Worksheet should be done to gauge potential environmental impact where the exploration will take place.
Mining companies want the leases to expand their search for copper, nickel, gold, platinum and other valuable metals away from known deposits and into new areas. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ruled in October that no environmental review was necessary before the leases are awarded. But several northern Minnesota citizens disagreed, and last month they filed a petition with the Court of Appeals.
The same citizens on Thursday asked the Executive Council to hold off on approving the leases until the court has ruled.
Gov. Mark Dayton, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and State Auditor Rebecca Otto agreed, and voted to delay action. Attorney General Lori Swanson supported the DNR leases. Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon was not at Thursday’s meeting in St. Paul.
Dayton went as far as scolding DNR officials for not making the minerals lease process more open and accessible for public input, and he called for a meeting in his office in the near future to include concerned citizens and top DNR staff.
Gov. Dayton’s hissy fit is great theatrics but the Executive Council’s vote says it all. The Twin Cities DFL consistently votes against the mining industry’s interests:
It’s the second time in as many years that the Executive Council has delayed mineral leases, although for different reasons. In 2011 the board delayed action after many private landowners said they were not aware the state held mineral rights under their land and that the state was about to allow mining companies to drill there. Despite sympathizing with the landowners’ plight, and delaying action for several months, the council eventually approved the 2011 leases in May this year.
This time the issue isn’t private property but what kind of impact drilling and other exploration activity might have on public and private lands, especially in sensitive areas near wetlands, trout streams, state parks and trails. Several of the latest proposed leases are in Lake County, near state parks and North Shore trout streams, said Matt Tyler, the Finland resident who has led the effort for environmental review before mineral leases are approved.
Every time the Executive Council votes to delay the letting of mineral leases is a delay to creating high-paying mining jobs. It’s also an opportunity for them to lie about what’s really motivating them. This year, the Executive Council, aka the DFL statewide officeholders, said that they wanted the Minnesota Court of Appeals to rule on whether an Environmental Assessment Worksheet should be done prior to letting the leases.
Last year, the Executive Council twice delayed the letting of leases under the premise that Arrowhead and Iron Range landowners didn’t know they didn’t own the mineral rights to their property. When the State Executive Council voted for delaying the leases, Prof. Kent Kaiser wrote an LTE scoffing at that notion while expressing his anger with the Twin Cities DFL:
This month, Minnesota’s State Executive Council, which includes the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor, voted to delay 77 leases to explore for copper and nickel on private lands in northern Minnesota.
This short-sighted action was initiated by Gov. Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. It was unfortunate for the job situation in the Northland, and I know many Minnesotans are terribly disappointed.
After all, the people of Minnesota own the rights to minerals in the state, including those under private land. Anyone from Northeastern Minnesota knows this; I remember learning this fact in elementary school.
The Twin Cities DFL will always get its way because they’d rather kill the mining industry outright. That isn’t speculation. The DFL has made their point exceptionally clear:
Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy are targeting the proposed PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes and the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely.
The campaign includes the web site MiningTruth.org, a 40-page report examining mining in detail, a Facebook community, and four billboards along Interstate 35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth to reach summer travelers.
Those complaining that these organizations aren’t the DFL are arguing over semantics. Alida Messinger sits on Conservation Minnesota’s Board of Directors. People who’ve read LFR (and Shot in the Dark) know that Alida owns the DFL and ABM, otherwise known as the deceitful, smear campaign wing of the DFL:
Alida wants to kill precious metal mining before it starts. That isn’t speculation. That’s what the International Falls Journal reported. As disgusting as Twin Cities DFL politicians are, they pail in comparison with the cowardice of Iron Range DFL politicians. They’re the people who are supposed to stand up for their constituents. Since this delay, as with the other times the State Executive Council voted against the miners’ interest, Senators Tom Bakk, David Thomassoni, and Tom Saxhaug didn’t criticize the DFL members of the State Executive Committee. Ditto with Representatives Tom Anzelc, Carly Melin and Dave Dill.
These spineless wimps let the Twin Cities DFL elitists ruin the lives of Iron Range miners without the Iron Range DFL criticizing the elitists. It’s time that Iron Range voters threw out the Silent Six for not looking out for the Iron Range’s best interests.
Likewise, Iron Range voters shouldn’t vote DFL in the statewide elections, either. Gov. Dayton, Secretary of State Ritchie and State Auditor Rebecca Otto consistently vote against the miners’ interests. I’ll guarantee that electing a GOP-filled State Executive Council will prove to be a vote for the best interests of mining communities.
It’s that simple.
Tags: Mark Dayton, Mark Ritchie, Rebecca Otto, Alida Messinger, Conservation Minnesota, Militant Environmentalists, Twin Cities DFL, Iron Range, Tom Bakk, David Thomassoni, Tom Saxhaug, Tom Anzelc, Carly Melin, DFL, Iron Range DFL, Miners, Unions, MnGOP