Democrat Effort To Stop Controversial Copper-Nickel Mine Could Also Crush Existing Iron Mines

A new bill aimed at stopping a controversial mine will also crush Minnesota's existing iron mines if passed into law.

Iron mine. (Credit: Twitter/Minnesota Iron)

Democrat Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s bill to block a controversial copper-nickel mine from being approved near the Boundary Waters will also crush existing iron mines if passed into law.

President Donald Trump’s administration has cleared the way for further consideration for a proposed mine that Twin Metals seeks to construct near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. Opponents on both the political left and right question the wisdom of allowing Twin Metals, a foreign-owned company, to potentially disrupt Minnesota’s iconic northern wilderness area. However, one of the measures that Democrats have put forth to halt the Twin Metals development may also spell disaster for existing mining projects that help sustain the rust belt economy.

McCollum’s proposed appropriations act will govern how tax money is spent when it comes to regulating and approving environmentally related projects. One stipulation of the act is to make it clear that “none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to review or approve a mine plan proposed within the Rainy River Watershed of the Superior National Forest.”

While this would successfully prohibit the Twin Metals copper-nickel project, it would also prevent existing iron mines that have already been approved from receiving the requisite approval for future operations.

As Minnesota Congressmen Pete Stauber puts it, McCollum’s bill “seeks to ban not only new mines, but future operations in existing iron ore mines… Congresswoman McCollum’s attack on iron mining is an all-time low, even for her,” Stauber adds, per the Duluth News Tribune.

Jason Lewis, a former US representative from Minnesota and current senatorial canidate, also ripped McCollum’s bill on Twitter.

Notably, the proposed legislation has not only been criticized for its collateral effects on iron mining, but for its potentially unfair representation of the Twin Metals project.

Isaac Orr, an energy and environmental environmental policy specialist with the Center of the American Experiment, says that Trump’s recent consideration of the Twin Metals project merely reverses bad Obama era policy.

“Liberal media outlets conveniently forget that the leases for the Twin Metals mine were inappropriately cancelled in the final days of the lame duck Obama/Biden administration. Emails revealed by the Wall Street Journal show even Amy Klobuchar understood that the cancellation of these leases was based on politics, not science,” Orr told Alpha News.

He also highlighted how mining in Minnesota is likely to become an increasingly politicized issue as the 2020 presidential elections looms ever closer.

“The Trump Administration righted Obama’s wrong, but McCollum’s official statement highlights the fact that mining in Minnesota is very much up for election this fall.” Orr is alluding here to McCollum’s statement that her bill “protects the BWCA until we are able to work with a more trustworthy [presidential] administration next year.”
Becuase of the attitudes of Democrats like McCollum, “mining supporters have reason to be concerned that a Biden administration would mean the end of the Twin Metals Minnesota project,” Orr concludes.
Kyle Hooten

Kyle Hooten is Managing Editor of Alpha News. His coverage of Minneapolis has been featured on television shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight and in print media outlets like the Wall Street Journal.