Originally Published in the Star Tribune by Ely Mayor, Chuck Novak May 10, 2019
The story about a U.S. House subcommittee hearing that touched on Twin Metals Minnesota’s proposal for a copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota (“McCollum grills Interior chief about Twin Metals copper mine,” May 8) again raises the question: Why are U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum and a group of retired Forest Service employees rushing to judgment before a mine plan has even been submitted for consideration?
Decisions about mine permits historically have been made under the rule of law, including proper environmental and other regulatory review processes that thoroughly vet proposals. That is all that is being asked for in this case: a fair and equitable process to review a specific project. The Forest Service retirees who sent a letter to the Trump administration in opposition to the mine this week are entitled to their opinion, but until there is an actual project to analyze, their views remain just that — an opinion based on speculation.
This is why we have regulatory review in the first place. Twin Metals has spent more than $400 million and 10 years on studies and testing at the mine site with zero negative environmental impacts. They say they can operate the mine in a safe, environmentally sound manner. Moving the goalposts now, by denying them the chance to at least make their case, would be extremely unfair and signal that the U.S. is a most unreliable partner.
Chuck Novak, Mayor