On Tuesday, Governor Dayton sent a letter to Ian Duckworth, Chief Operating Officer of Twin Metals Minnesota, informing the organization that the state would oppose its proposal to mine on state land near Ely, Minnesota. Given Ely’s Location, Dayton says there are “inherent risks associated with any mining operation in close proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”
Dayton notes that the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a “national treasure” and is unique given its waterbodies, forests, and “legacy of wilderness adventure.” Voicing his strong opinion on mining in the environmentally unique area, Dayton asserted, “Its uniqueness and fragility require that we exercise special care when we evaluate significant land use changes in the area, and I am unwilling to take risks with that Minnesota environmental icon.”
In the letter Dayton points out that he has called the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to voice his “strong opposition to mining in close proximity to the BWCAW.” The Bureau of Land Management is in the process of determining if Twin Metal’s federal lease will be renewed.
Finally, Dayton concludes by explaining that he has “directed the DNR not to authorize or enter into any new state access agreements or lease agreements for mining operations on those state lands [near BWCAW].”
CBS Minnesota reports that Dayton’s letter “was released a week after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources approved the final environmental review of the Polymet proposed copper-nickel mine,” which allows Polymet to move forward with obtaining the many permits necessary to conduct business. The difference between the two projects is that the Polymet mine is not located in a watershed that flows into the BWCAW, while Twin Metals’s mine is.
Subscribe to Alpha News to see if this issue affects the 2016 legislative session.
A copy of Dayton’s letter can be viewed here, courtesy of the Duluth News Tribune.