MOUNTAIN IRON, Minn. – Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-MN8) hosted 19 top Republican lawmakers including Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN6) as he led them on a tour of several active and proposed mining sites in northeastern Minnesota.
Nolan and Emmer said they have met with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last month, and will meet with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue in the next few weeks, reports the Pioneer Press. They expect that the moratorium on mining in the area should be overturned by the Trump administration shortly.
“After visiting United Taconite in Eveleth to learn about iron ore production, we visited Twin Metals to discuss how future mining projects will bring jobs and revenue to the region,” Emmer said in a statement on Facebook. “This trip only intensified my support of our hardworking miners, which is why I look forward to working with President Trump to ensure that government gets out of the way so our miners can get back to work!”
In a last minute move, the Obama administration revoked federal mining leases from Twin Metals, and without those permits the entire project is likely dead.
Republican Congressmen Paul Gosar of Arizona and Bruce Westerman of Arkansas also joined Nolan’s tours, reports the Pioneer Press. Gosar is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, while Westerman serves on that subcommittee and the Federal Lands Subcommittee.
Gosar and Westerman both told the Pioneer Press they were glad to see the overreach of government here. They believe that while this specific mine is an issue for Minnesota, the principle of the project’s shutdown is applicable to the entirety of the United States.
“This is neither a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s an American issue,” Emmer said, reports the Pioneer Press.