Governor Dayton is just plain wrong to link Twin Metals request to PolyMet
Submitted by admin on Sun, 02/21/2016 – 08:41 (The Ely Echo)
We’re trying to find a thread of common sense on a recent decision by Governor Mark Dayton. Even the Range delegation is shaking its head.
Dayton has pronounced he won’t approve any Twin Metals issues until the PolyMet project finishes going through the regulatory process.
Key word: any. Twin Metals, with headquarters here in Ely, has been looking to do some drilling this winter. Much of the north country is inaccessible to drill rigs until the ground is frozen. This is the time of year to get drilling work done.
The company has asked the state for permission to conduct environmental, minor assessment and geotechnical due-diligence activities. The Minnesota DNR has green lighted the request but the governor has put up a road block.
Does the governor have concerns the DNR did not address? Not that we know of. Does the governor extend blocking any and all requests from all mining companies? Doesn’t appear so. Just Twin Metals.
This blind, unreasonable stance makes the governor look downright goofy.
Eight members of the Range delegation agree that the governor is being unreasonable: Rep. Tom Anzelc, Rep. Jason Metsa, Rep. Rob Ecklund, Rep.Carly Melin, Rep. Dale Lueck, Sen. Tom Bakk, Sen. Dave Tomassoni, and Sen. Tom Saxhaug.
Let’s be clear, there is no connection between Twin Metals and PolyMet. The two companies are not tied together. They have separate ownerships, separate ore bodies and are miles apart in the regulatory process.
PolyMet has been trying to get approval for a copper-nickel mine for over 10 years. Twin Metals is several years away from starting to apply for approval.
But for some unknown reason, the governor has tied the two projects together. We’re sorry, governor, but we see no reason for your decision and worry that your actions will further hurt the economy of northeast Minnesota.
Three jobs have recently been cut at Twin Metals Minnesota in Ely. Another five were cut at the company’s Twin Cities office.
Had the governor approved this routine request, we would’ve had IDEA Drilling here employing people to process drilling work for Twin Metals.
Maybe the governor doesn’t understand how important each and every mining and mining-related job is up here on the Range.
We’ve got over 2,000 people here out of work. Allowing a company to do some drilling may only put a handful back to work but that’s a handful of families who can put food on the table, make their house payment and continue to live here.
The governor’s answer: no.
In the letter the Range delegation wrote, “Immediate approval of the access agreement is necessary to project development activities on schedule, to sustain ongoing investment in the region, and to allow Twin Metals to conduct certain field activities.”
C’mon governor, do the right thing and treat each company on its own merits. We can use all the help we can get up here. You need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.