After not caring about the Polymet permitting process for years, Jim Oberstar finally cares. Sort of:

It’s been in the works for more than four years, but when the environmental review came out last fall, the federal government blasted the report as inadequate.

Oberstar says he wants a thorough review, but it shouldn’t take so long.

“The red tape, the slowdown, the lack of full attention by federal and state permitting agencies has dragged this process out much too long,” said Oberstar.

Oberstar said the No. 1 issue people talk about in northeastern Minnesota is jobs. And the Polymet mine promises 400 jobs.

“I’ve heard some concerns, ‘Be careful about our environment. We love this land, we don’t want our waters to be adversely affected.’ And I’ve assured people that corners will not be cut, there will be no exceptions made, but we have to do this in an expeditious manner,” he said.

It’s been 4 years since the permitting and inspection process started. Finally, it’s got the attention of Rep. Oberstar? Why didn’t he take interest before this? There’s a simple answer for why it’s finally got his attention: Tom Emmer has made this a focal point of the campaign and Sen. Dayton is looking like he doesn’t care about job creation.

Enter Rep. Oberstar to cut the red tape. Enter Rep. Oberstar so jobs can be created. What a great guy Rep. Oberstar is. For that matter, what a great guy Sen. Dayton is.

There’s just one problem with this picture. If Rep. Emmer hadn’t brought it up, and if the issue hadn’t gained traction, it’s likely that this project still wouldn’t be getting attention. Let’s remember that Sen. Dayton wasn’t worried about streamlining the permitting process during the final DFL debate before the primary.

As for Rep. Oberstar, why didn’t he take an interest in the process long before this? Polymet’s been run through the ringer for 5 years. Suddenly, he cares? Why didn’t he care before the MNGOP candidate brought it up at a debate? Why didn’t he care prior to Tom Emmer making this a major political issue?

Mining is the bread and butter of the Iron Range economy. Creating hundreds of jobs should’ve been Rep. Oberstar’s first priority. Iron Rangers now know that it wasn’t Oberstar’s top priority.

Chip Cravaack is the MNGOP-endorsed candidate for MN-08. Unlike ‘Lord Oberstar’, Cravaack will represent the district. That’s because he’s actually listening to the people of the Eighth District. Had Rep. Oberstar listened to his constituents, he would’ve taken an interest in Polymet sooner.

Instead, he jumped into action when his political ally, Sen. Dayton, got into political hot water. That’s just what I’d expect from the guy whose highest priority many years is getting bike paths built with highway Trust Fund money.

Sen. Dayton and Rep. Oberstar won’t represent Minnesota because they’re too busy catering to their political allies in the environmental movement.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Now He Cares?”

  • eric z says:

    Emmer seems happy to pose a few jobs in mining and in mining construction, for a decade or three, against inadequate environmental safeguards where the earth can be scarred for centuries.

    Mines traditionally, to maximize the return, bail out and move out and do so via a subsidiary that’s an empty shell even renting plant and equipment from elsewhere so that cleanup is left to government unless there’s an escrow demanded up front and policed to remain adequate for ultimate ending and environmentally safe decomissioning.

    What’s Emmer’s and the GOP position on adequate escrow?

    That’s the key. If you permit the mining you do not socialize the environmental threats and degradation. You keep all costs with the benefits, i.e., the mining company has to be held to escrow so that costs at the end do not end up socialized while the fat cats have departed with all the money the metals earned on the market.

    Socializing environmental costs has been a past harm and worry. History teaches that you have to step hard on these people to assure responsibility and to never let up too much on keeping the foot on the throat of the bad guys.

Leave a Reply