Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Four Key Facts About Rick Nolan’s Position on Mining


Fact #1: Rep. Nolan has never and will never support mining in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

I have never and will never support any mining in the Boundary Waters. In fact, I was an original cosponsor of the legislation that established the protected Boundary Waters area. I am absolutely committed to safeguarding ALL our beautiful Minnesota lands and waters for future generations. 

Fact #2: Mining can be done effectively without harming Minnesota’s rivers and lakes.

The fact is, we’ve been mining here on the Iron Range for more than 130 years, and our waters are the cleanest and purest in the state. Take a look at the map below. As you can see, the river is in great shape as it runs down through the Iron Range. It’s only when the river approaches the Twin Cities that pollution increases and water quality becomes unsafe and unhealthy. Runoff from farms and factories have even forced some communities in Western Minnesota to pipe in clean drinking water.

Fact #3: All mining projects must go through the rigorous, multi-year environmental approval process.

If a mining project can’t meet state and federal environmental standards, it does not move forward. I have always supported high standards and a thorough process to ensure that Minnesota’s precious land, air, and water are protected.

These rigorous environmental reviews by both state and federal entities often take years to complete. For example, the proposed Polymet land exchange has undergone seven years of environmental review, in addition to the 12 years of intensive review of the company’s proposed copper and nickel mining project. This type of science-based process is essential to protecting our environment as we work to create good paying jobs.

Fact #4: We can create mining jobs AND protect the environment.

We have the brains and the science to create jobs and protect the environment. The simple fact, is we need strategic minerals to create the next generation of “green” technology.

  • New hybrid cars contain more than 1 ton of iron, steel, copper, nickel, and nickel-based aluminum.
  • Wind turbines contain hundreds of tons of steel and copper – and reduce our air pollution.
    • Every computer – television – light bulb – printer – iPad – contains iron ore and precious metals that we mine in Minnesota, and helps reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

We’ve got two choices on how we get these strategic minerals. We can import these minerals from foreign countries with terrible environmental standards and worker protections. Or we can mine them right here at home, where we control the process, creating good paying jobs, and follow the toughest environmental rules and regulations in the world. To me, the latter choice is just plain common sense.


Why the PolyMet Land Exchange (H.R.3115) is a Good Deal For All


Key Facts about H.R. 3115:

  • This bill finalizes a long-awaited land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and PolyMet Mining
  • The land swap was already approved by the Obama administration’s Forest Service.
  • Taxpayers get more lakeshore, more timber, more wild rice waters, and 2,000 acres of additional wetlands.   
  • In return, the Forest Service is trading public lands already surrounded by old mining sites, with no public access. (PolyMet already owns the mining and mineral rights to the acres they would receive.)
  • The land exchange enjoys overwhelming support from the Minnesota Congressional delegation, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and communities, business leaders, civic groups, economic development organizations, unions and folks all across our region.
  • H.R.3115 passed the House 309-99 with strong bipartisan support. 


For videos of Rep. Nolan speaking in support of the land exchange, click HERE.

For letters in support of the land exchange, click HERE.

For maps of the proposed Polymet mining site, click HERE.



More on Mining

Sep 10, 2018 Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Rick Nolan (MN-08) released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement that it was canceling a previously announced mineral withdrawal in the Superior National Forest:  

Aug 21, 2018 the Monday Report

Nolan Presses "No Government-No Pay" Bill While the President Threatens Federal Shutdown Over Taxpayer Funded Mexican Wall 


Jun 12, 2018 In The News

Let me assure those who have expressed concern over the future of my PolyMet Land Exchange bill that the measure is in good hands in the U.S. Senate under the leadership of Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, who are championing the bill by all means necessary.

Jun 12, 2018 In The News

DULUTH, MN (KDAL) - St. Louis County Commissioners are applauding the 4 million dollars in federal funding that was included in the Omnibus Spending Bill signed by the President last week.

The funds would be used to purchase 51 thousand acres of State School Trust Lands located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Commissioner Frank Jewell says the long awaited development is good news for the state and for school kids and County leaders extend their thanks to Congressman Rick Nolan and Senator Amy Klobuchar for their work in keeping the provision in the budget bill.

Feb 21, 2018 In The News

In a move that should help bolster U.S. steelmakers and the Minnesota taconite iron ore mines that supply them, the U.S. Commerce Department on Friday called for steep tariffs on all steel shipments coming into the U.S.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the steel tariffs along with a duty on aluminum imports.

President Donald Trump, who asked for a plan to thwart foreign imports, is expected to decide on the details by April.

Jan 25, 2018 In The News


U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, have sent President Trump a letter urging him to crack down on foreign steel dumping. 

This comes days after the U.S. Department of Commerce announced they finished their investigation into the impacts of foreign steel on or economy.

The Department submitted the results of its investigation to President Trump who now has less than 90 days to potentially take action.

Dec 11, 2017 the Monday Report

Six Big Things You Need to Know About Congressman Rick Nolan’s Position on Mining in Northern Minnesota

Mining will never, ever be permitted in the BWCA. And as an original cosponsor of the legislation that established the BWCA, I will never support any bill, or any project - mining or otherwise - that could damage this precious and pristine national treasure.

Dear Friend,

Dec 4, 2017 the Monday Report

House Overwhelmingly Passes Nolan’s Superior National Forest Land Exchange Bill 

Bipartisan Margin was 309-99

Under our Superior National Forest Land Exchange bill, taxpayers will receive more lakeshore, more timber, more wild rice waters, and more wetlands for public enjoyment and recreation.

Dear Friend, 

Nov 29, 2017 In The News

Over the Thanksgiving recess last week, Congressman Rick Nolan received a bit of news. On the first day Congress would return to session, his bill authorizing the PolyMet land exchange into federal law would be in front of the U.S. House on the consent agenda.

Instead of a simple majority, it would need a two-thirds vote, and Nolan and his staff were short a hard head count on supporters. Being a holiday break, few members were around to take an accurate pulse of the House.

As the PolyMet project always seem to go — nothing comes easy.

Nov 29, 2017 Press Release

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed U.S. Rep Rick Nolan’s bill, H.R. 3115, the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act, which finalizes a long-awaited land exchange in Northern Minnesota between the U.S. Forest Service and PolyMet Mining. 


The exchange – approved earlier this year by the Obama Administration’s U.S. Forest Service after undergoing seven years of scrupulous review – is key to advancing PolyMet’s long-awaited project to open up the copper, nickel and other precious minerals under Iron Range land known as the Duluth Complex.