The claims by metro legislators and anti-mining groups about PolyMet Mining are downright fabrications. It is very disappointing that people don’t know or don’t care what our strong rules and regulations require, and that the media continues to perpetuate the misinformation. The people of the Iron Range deserve better. The people of the state of Minnesota deserve better. There is no scandal. The agencies have done their jobs. The letter of the law was followed to a “T.” Enough of the fake news already. Here are the facts:
Fact: Our DNR required PolyMet Mining to post bankruptcy proof of financial assurance (only accessible by the DNR) before they even issued PolyMet’s permit to mine. It doesn’t matter who or what the ownership looks like the resources needed to close the mine if the company went bankrupt are currently in place and only the state can release the funds.
Fact: PolyMet has undergone the most thorough and transparent environmental review and permitting process more than any other project ever in our state. Extra-long public review periods, with thousands of public comments, all of which were responded to, and extra meetings were held around the state including the Twin Cities. When was the last time a project in the Twin Cities was required to hold public meetings on the Iron Range?
Fact: We live in a state with a long mining history. We know how to mine safely; we hold our companies to high standards. Note: According to the Environmental Quality Board’s report card on Minnesota water, we have the only clean water in the state. PolyMet’s tailings design is an enhanced version of what all but one of our taconite mining companies currently use and have been using for over 50 years of operation. We have never had a dam failure in Minnesota. And based on the level of scrutiny and multilevel independent review of the PolyMet project, we fully expect the PolyMet tailings basin to be no different.
These letters containing fabricated information to Governor Walz and to Attorney General Ellison are frustrating, but let’s call them what they are: desperate last-ditch efforts by anti-mining folks to stop an important project for Northeastern Minnesota, because their efforts to stop the project through the multi state and federal agency environmental review and permitting process, a process they put into law, failed.
PolyMet has spent over 14 years diligently following and complying with every required state and federal process to legally permit and operate a mine. They have shown their project meets state and federal environmental standards and meets or exceeds all factors of safety. As lawmakers we should be celebrating this monumental accomplishment not perpetuating lies and misinformation manufactured by anti-mining groups.
It’s time for long awaited good-paying jobs on the Iron Range. Jobs that will contribute to our new economy of windmills, solar panels, electric cars, cell phones, computers and whatever our future brings.
It’s time to mine.
Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin
Rep. Sandy Layman, R-Cohasset
Sen. David Tomassoni, D-Chisholm
Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids
Rep. David Lislegard, D-Aurora
Rep. Rob Ecklund, D-International Falls
Rep. Julie Sandstede, D-Hibbing