Jason Lewis, the former Representative of Minnesota’s 2nd district and current US Senate Candidate, recently appeared on the WDSM AM710 program “Sound Off” with Brad Bennett. He implored Senator Tina Smith to denounce Representative Betty McCollum’s proposed bill that would place permanent bans on copper, nickel, and precious metals mining across more than 200,000 acres of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota.
In the interview, Jason Lewis said the following:
“Representative Betty McCollum’s bill is a full-frontal assault on the Iron Range way of life. Outlawing safe and responsible mining in Superior National Forest would not only devastate the Iron Range but would permanently rob Northern Minnesota of an opportunity to be an economic powerhouse given the increased demand for copper and nickel. The fact that urban elitists like McCollum are eager and willing to throw that away is disturbing. I am calling on Senator Tina Smith to look out for her constituents, denounce McCollum’s legislation, and fight it in the Senate. “When I am up on the Iron Range, I have individuals coming up to me left and right saying “the Democratic party has left me.” Radical liberals like McCollum are playing to their urban base who are saying no mining, no logging, no energy. All at the expense of hardworking Minnesotans on the Iron Range. This is an insult to the way of life on the Iron Range that I am fighting for.”
The pushback from Lewis is the latest in a tug-of-war playing out over the future of precious metal mining in northeastern Minnesota. While some like McCollum prioritize keeping the land untouched and unused in all capacities, others like Lewis want to reindustrialize and reinvigorate our state’s economy while minimizing environmental damage.
The issue of mining, and humanity’s impact on the environment in general, is highly contentious and filled with false statistics used in order to manipulate or leverage one political agenda over another.
In rebuttal to McCollum, Representative Pete Stauber, the Republican of northeast Minnesota’s 8th District, said that he was “outraged” to learn of the bill, saying “this utter disregard for our way of life is insulting.”
Stauber continued, stating that the bill “intends to rob many of my constituents of their livelihood.” Rep. Stauber has made it clear that he “will fight this attempt at killing mining jobs in my district every step of the way. I’m confident that, with the support of the Trump Administration, our way of life will prevail.”