Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Walz seeks northern support for state’s top job

Makes gubernatorial campaign stop in Cook

Melissa Roach
Posted 1/24/18

COOK— Minnesota’s First District Congressman Tim Walz, fresh off the plane from Washington, D.C., traveled north to Cook Tuesday, hoping to garner support for his bid for governor.

He spoke …

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Walz seeks northern support for state’s top job

Makes gubernatorial campaign stop in Cook

Posted

COOK— Minnesota’s First District Congressman Tim Walz, fresh off the plane from Washington, D.C., traveled north to Cook Tuesday, hoping to garner support for his bid for governor.

He spoke to a packed room at the Crescent Supper Club, with state Sen. Tom Bakk, Rep. Jason Metsa, and Rep. Rob Ecklund all in attendance.

The event was organized by the Northern Progressives group, which is attempting to host all the prospective gubernatorial candidates.

“After these past few days, I couldn’t wait to get here,” said Walz. Representing a district that voted for President Trump, he argued that he is the only candidate who can bring the DFL together.

Walz wasted no time listing off his credentials as a six-term congressman, a ranking member on the Agriculture Committee and the Veterans Affairs Committee, a 24-year veteran of the Army and National Guard, in addition to being a teacher. He spoke of his running mate Rep. Peggy Flanagan and her credentials as the former executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund for Minnesota, her work with Wellstone Action, as well as the first director and founder of the Native American Leadership program. Flanagan is also a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. He asserted that their range of leadership, values, and credentials makes them the team most qualified to represent Minnesotans. “Together we can bring people together and reflect the values we all care about.”

Walz wasted little time in addressing a controversial topic in the DFL. “I know that the mining issue is deeply dividing up here, but we can’t let it destroy us, and I’m going to address it head on,” he said. “I recognize the Boundary Waters as a unique area.” He continued, “If science is the solution, we should not close those doors. We have to follow the science but we must be open and transparent. We have to assume our common goals and then work backwards bringing all people to the table.”

Walz said it’s important to move toward a low carbon, sustainable economy, and said mining has to be a part of that.” At the same time, he took issue with Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, calling him “dangerous,” and said it’s important to think long-term on issues related to mining. “But this issue is ripping us apart and we need to keep communication open about this.”

Walz also addressed the Enbridge pipeline. Again, he looped through the need to move toward a low carbon-based economy, reiterating the need to have safeguards and parameters in place. “We need to look beyond this administration and beyond this generation.”

Addressing healthcare, he said, “I have farmers in my district that say health insurance is burying them, yet they voted for Trump…go figure!” He noted that 3.1 million people have left the insurance market since Trump’s electioin. “As a state we can expand the public option and buy-in. We need to invest in preventive care as well. With the state and the U of M, we can invest in studies for cures, for chronic issues and diseases. We need to still figure out how to bring those provider networks into rural Minnesota.”

Walz also talked about the lack of transparency in health care pricing and the increasing consolidation of services. He also addressed end-of-life care, “It’s something nobody wants to talk about, but we need to. We spend more money in the last six months of life on health care than at any other time. It’s astounding. We need to talk about end of life care.”

When asked why he was leaving Congress, risking his district to a Republican replacement, he said was prompted because of gerrymandering. He said he thinks the districts in Minnesota are up for a shuffle and the state could lose a congressional district in 2020 with redistricting. Besides, he said, the real political action is increasingly happening in the states. “All the major decisions will be made at the state level, and we don’t need another Scott Walker. We also need to be smarter about how we message, how we push renewable energy, education, healthcare…We need to be clear and steely eyed about what we need to protect, and what we value. It’s not about compromising our values, it’s about making the case for our values and for investments that improve peoples’ lives. I will not normalize this administration, and I refuse to let them dictate how we see our state, and Peggy and I are who Minnesota looks like. We reflect the values that we all care about.”

Comments

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Lori Andresen

Rep. Tim Walz voted for Rep. Nolan’s toxic HR 3115 PolyMet land exchange bill for the benefit of multinational corporations wanting to destroy protected Superior National Forest lands.

It is immoral to put a risky and highly toxic sulfide mine on the headwaters of Lake Superior - with northeastern Minnesota's major population centers located downstream of the proposed PolyMet sulfide mine.

PolyMet is the "snowplow" for the other toxic sulfide mining projects in Minnesota.

It is the highest responsibility of our politicians to protect our citizens.

Wednesday, January 24
Mike Cole

In the USFS forest management plan mining is listed as a desired activity on national forest lands. Nice to see that you know how to spell sulfide you used it 3 times in your comment, but here again they are not mining sulfide they will be mining copper nickel and other critical minerals. The sulfide content in the Duluth Complex is between 1 % to 10 % meaning once the ore is processed there will be 0% sulfide in the tailings. The people of Northeast Minnesota will benefit from the good paying mining jobs and other satellite jobs created because of the PolyMet Mine. This in turn will bring families back to the area meaning schools, hospitals and local businesses will thrive again. Oh, did I mention the tax dollars that PolyMet will pay the state or the money they will put into the Permanent School Trust Fund. PolyMet and eventually Twin Metals will be good things for the people and communities of our area.

Thursday, January 25
Kelly Dahl

Copper mining is the dirtiest type of mining in the industry. It is a scientific fact that refuse piles from this type of mining produces sulfides and acids when exposed to air and water. Every copper mine that ever existed has left the taxpayers with the cost of maintaining irreparable pollution. The beneficiaries of these projects will be foreign billionaires while our land is destroyed and we pick up the tab. PolyMet proposes to use essentially the same technology that failed only a couple of years ago at the Mount Polley mine, causing a catastrophe that will never be rectified. These politicians talk about safety and science and ignore bothe for the sake of special interests. Sulfide mining is poison to our land and water.

Thursday, January 25
chessie2go

It's nice that Peggy Flanagan has been involved with the Children's Defense Fund, Wellstone Action, and the Native American Leadership program. However, turning northeast Minnesota into a copper-nickel sulphide district is like turning back the clock--when the forests were destroyed and Native Americans pushed onto reservations. Turning public land over to foreign mining companies destroys the rights granted to the Tribes under the Treaty of 1854, as well as destroys the water and environment for all of us.

The Enbridge pipeline is another issue involving remaining Native lands and Native rights, and waterways.

A Lt. Governor may have little or no say about these major pending issues and may well be just a token spokesperson on carefully controlled subjects.

It would be nice if the ticket were the other way around.

Monday, January 29
Carla Arneson

The Forest Service Plan does not state mining is a desired activity on national forest lands. Rather, “The Forest Plan desired condition for minerals states: Ensure that exploration, development, and producing mineral resources are conducted in an environmentally sound manner so that they may contribute to economic growth and national defense.”

Sulfide mining cannot be done in an environmentally sound manner in northeastern Minnesota, despite industry propaganda. The reality is that PolyMet’s FEIS stated that treatment would be required “indefinitely,” in other words “for perpetuity,” the original wording used in PolyMet’s preliminary SDEIS. The reality is that billions of gallons of our waters would be polluted from the get-go; hence the need for reverse osmosis.

In an area of a sole-source aquifer, reverse osmosis would only separate permeate (more or less clean water) from concentrate. “Concentrate” is exactly what it sounds like, the contaminants are concentrated into 25% to 33⅓%—or more—of the total amount of polluted water fed into the reverse osmosis system. No viable way to dispose of this concentrate—of indeterminate toxicity— has been identified in northeastern Minnesota.

Taconite mines are currently operating on non-compliant expired permits, even as the taconite industry claims reverse osmosis is not economically or technically feasible to use.

Yet, reverse osmosis is supposed to be the panacea, the cure-all for sulfide mining’s massive water pollution. That reverse osmosis contradiction alone should be enough for Minnesota to say no to sulfide mining. Minnesota’s waters are more important and more valuable to the state and the nation than low-grade metals. There is nothing more strategic in today’s world than Minnesota’s wealth of water. The slogan, “Minnesota can have mining and clean water,” is a blatant lie. Not on this scale, not in this environment.

Besides being technically inaccurate, O% sulfur in tailings is deceptive. Whatever the amount of sulfur left in the tailings, the sulfur used in the hydrometallurgical process (the equivalent of a chemical smelter) does not disappear. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. The sulfur ends up in the air, or in wastewater sent to the hydrometallurgical residue facility.

FYI: The term sulfide mining is correct. Sulfide mining is just as accurate and accepted as copper-nickel sulfide, nonferrous, hardrock, polymetallic, or metallic sulfide mining (used by the mining industry to encompass varied combinations of metals). Each sulfide deposit is mined for its sulfide minerals, named for the predominant metal(s) the sulfide ore contains (i.e. copper-nickel sulfide mining), and is broadly referred to as sulfide mining. The mining industry worldwide uses the term sulfide mining.

Until 2016 (when sulfide mine changed to sulfide deposit), Antofagasta's homepage unapologetically stated, “About Us/Antofagasta Minerals”… Los Pelambres: A sulfide mine located in the Region of Coquimbo, ... It produces copper and molybdenum concentrates through milling and flotation processes. … Esperanza: A sulfide mine located in the Region of Antofagasta, … It produces copper concentrate and gold through a milling and flotation process.”

Brian Gavin, CEO of Franconia Minerals before it was bought out by Duluth Metals, said, “Technically this is sulfide mining and naturally that’s going to raise environmental concerns.” (He had honesty and credentials).

Property values have already plummeted on lakes directly threatened by proposed sulfide mining. Sales drive value, and few want to invest in lake property in an area adjacent to what could become a sulfide mining industrial zone. And for those who think they are safe because they are outside of those areas, think again. Research the health issues directly related to such industrial complexes.

Take a look at Utah’s Bingham Canyon copper mine for a preview, Utah’s top polluter. One mine. Then multiply by ten, roughly the number of additional sulfide deposits identified in the Duluth Complex, all of which would end up being open pit mines, because there is no way companies are going to leave behind identified close-to-the-surface sulfide deposits. Our waters would not stand a chance. Neither would the people, particularly the children of northeastern Minnesota. It is despicable to suggest they pay for the Permanent School Trust Fund with their health.

As long as we safeguard the waters good jobs will come that are compatible. Sulfide mining will ultimately leave nothing for future generations but permanent toxicity.

Monday, February 5