The US Department of the Interior has finally approved two major federal mineral leases that come as a major win for Twin Metal, who hopes to start a copper-nickel mine in Northeastern Minnesota on the edge of the Boundary Waters.
The Center of the American Experiment released a report in the summer of 2018 that uncovered the massive benefits of responsibly mining Minnesota’s copper, nickel, cobalt, and titanium resources. Responsible mineral mining would “add $3.7 billion to Minnesota’s economic output and support 8,500 jobs and generate nearly $200 million in state and local tax revenue” says Isaac Orr, Policy Fellow at the Center of the American Experiment.
Governor Tim Walz has expressed his support of copper-nickel mining in past interviews, but his decision to select Sarah Strommen as the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proves that he doesn’t have a concrete stance. Stommen has held high-ranking positions in organizations that vehemently oppose copper-nickel mining, like Friends of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“I applaud Secretary Bernhardt and the Trump administration for putting politics aside and rightfully giving our miners the opportunity to meet or exceed all environmental standards” Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-8) says in response to the decision. Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-6) is also in support saying that “Our state and local economies deserve to prosper, and we can ensure that, while also protecting Minnesota’s beauty for future generations. When it comes to protecting the environment and developing our economic assets, nobody does it better than Minnesota.”
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.