I grew up on the Iron Range (Cuyuna, specifically), in the heart of Minnesota mining country, where most of my friends and neighbors worked in the mines. I support our mine workers, their good-paying jobs, their unions, and local business suppliers. I support our mining families, our mining industry and all the economic, social, and cultural benefits mining has brought to northern Minnesota over decades of growth and development.
Thanks to advances in mining technology, the time has long past when we had to choose between mining and the environment.
I believe we can do mining the right way, creating good-paying jobs while adhering to the strictest environmental and safety standards to ensure safe working conditions, and that clean air, clear water, and healthy soil continue to support our tourism industry and Minnesota quality of life.
The fact is, the precious metals and minerals mined by Iron Rangers touch every part of our daily lives, while reducing our carbon footprint and making us more energy-efficient:
- New cars contain more than 1 ton of iron, steel, copper, nickel, and nickel-based aluminum – hybrid vehicles are even more energy efficient.
- Wind turbines contain hundreds of tons of steel and copper – and reduce our air pollution.
- Cellphones contain copper and palladium – conserving resources and advancing communication technology.
- Lithium-ion batteries contain nickel, cobalt, manganese, and more – and help us save energy.
- Modern catalytic convertors contain platinum and palladium – reducing our carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
- Every computer – television – light bulb – printer – iPad – and on and on – contains iron ore and precious metals that we mine in Minnesota, and helps reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
I believe mining and environmental protection should work hand-in-hand as we tap the materials necessary to produce next-generation products and technology, as well as the iron ore and steel that goes into our automobiles, buildings, machinery, appliances, roads, bridges, highways, and ports – every aspect of our nation’s infrastructure and industrial economy.
We serve the planet and our future by mining these minerals here in America, where the industry is closely regulated, where workers are protected, and where air, water, and land is respected, protected, and restored.
Below are two opinion pieces on mining I have written for local papers, as well as my complete statement to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Polymet project.
More on Mining
Mining copper and nickel on Minnesota’s Iron Range and addressing global climate change are compatible, complementary and essential to our way of life. We have the brains, the technology and the need to do both.
Hundreds of mining supporters attended a Tuesday rally in Virginia to condemn federal intervention that might prevent copper-nickel exploration near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA).
MINNEAPOLIS — The fight over whether to allow copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northeastern Minnesota is shifting to the capital city as the U.S. Forest Service opens a new set of public meetings on its proposal to bar minerals exploration and development on more than 234,000 acres near the pristine wilderness for up to 20 years.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan asked federal lawmakers Friday to approve a land exchange that would benefit the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.
“It facilitates an important mining project for our national economy, for our national security,” Nolan, a DFLer, testified to a panel of lawmakers.
Nolan is pushing a bill he sponsored to give 6,650 acres from the Superior National Forest to PolyMet Mining Corp., in exchange for other land owned by the company.
Calling it a "very good land exchange... for the taxpayers and the citizens of our nation," U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Public Lands Friday in favor of a bill the 8th District DFLer authored.
The legislation would authorize a federal land exchange the contentious PolyMet copper-nickel mine proposal needs in order to advance.
If it wasn't for the copper-nickel mine that could result in the end, even the most hardened PolyMet opponent could find something to cheer in the proposed land exchange between the federal government and the mining company.
PolyMet, in the midst of a legal battle over a federal land exchange for a proposed copper-nickel mine on the East Range, has a bipartisan group of congressmen ready to push the swap through as law.
Congressman Rick Nolan, D-Minn., introduced a bill Thursday that would finalize the land exchange between the company and the U.S. Forest Service, potentially crippling lawsuits from environmental groups and clearing one of the major issues for the Northmet project near Aurora and Hoyt Lakes.
MOUNTAIN IRON/ELY — For most of the first half of 2017, the Iron Range has remained laser-focused on its goals in Washington, D.C.
Far from the now-bustling taconite mines and majestic scenery of northeastern Minnesota is where the real political fight to death is taking place. That might not be hyperbole either: What’s happening in Washington is — quite possibly — one of the most important issues the Iron Range has ever faced.
MOUNTAIN IRON — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan brought Congress to the heart of the effort to overturn a federal mining moratorium and renew mineral leases for Twin Metals, both issues centered around land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The U.S. House of Representatives last night passed Congressman Rick Nolan’s bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to reaffirm that a strong domestic iron ore and steel industry is vital to our national security. The NDAA as amended is expected to come up for final passage on Friday.