Eye On Mining - Public comment wanted for Twin Metals mineral leases
Ely, MN - While some local lawmakers are satisfied with President Donald Trump's recent withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, many say the fight for mining in Minnesota is just beginning.
More than 60 Minnesota lawmakers from across the aisle have signed a letter in protest of the denial of mineral leases to Twin Metals.
Bob McFarlin of Twin Metals Minnesota said the company supports the strict standards and process, but he said the precedent this decision sets is much larger than Twin Metals.
"It is the intent of these agencies to eliminate mining from all 3.9 million acres of the Superior National Forest," said McFarlin. "That would be absolutely disastrous for the economy of Northeast Minnesota."
During this two year time-out phase, the Forest Service is conducting studies to determine if the maximum 20 year withdrawal of mineral leases from the nearly 240 thousand acres of land can happen.
"It's a reasonable step to take, it's a normal part of the process, said Tonia Kittleson, Northern Communities Director for Friends of the BWCA. "Frankly it's the right thing to do if we want to make a wise decision not just for the short term for our state and our country but for the long term perspective."
The US Department of Agriculture says this decision does not prohibit any ongoing or future mining activities on any existing rights.
There is a 90 day public comment period currently underway. A public listening session is set for Mar. 16 in Duluth.