The debate over copper/nickel mining in Northern Minnesota reached national news this morning.
The weekend edition of NBC’s “Today Show” profiled Dave and Amy Freeman. This Ely and Grand Marais couple have been living in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for more than 300 days.
The Freemans started their year in the BWCA to highlight the risks of mining projects near the pristine lakes and forests of the federally-protected area.
The Today Show also interviewed the Ely Mayor Chuck Novak. He talked about the potential economic benefit of the proposed mines. Novak argued against the notion that the project posed environmental risk to the Boundary Waters.
You can see the story for yourself here:
Not much new ground covered, though it was nice to see an update on the Freemans after 300 days of camping.
You’ll note I didn’t cover the recent hubbub over the U.S. Forest Service forums held in Duluth and Ely. At this point in the debate, particularly as it relates to Twin Metals, actual mining is so far in the future, and so dependent on so many factors we don’t control, that I view the amount of political and emotional energy spent on the topic as wasted.
We have problems we can solve right in front of us. We can improve our communities, help our neighbors, and *have fun living life* right now. I’m not waiting. If you want my opinion, neither should anyone else. If you want to be passionate about mining, be passionate about value added iron ore products. If we don’t figure that out there won’t be much mining at all in a couple decades.
The future of the Iron Range will not be determined by lawn signs or by stacking bureaucratic public forums with people wearing the same lapel stickers as you.
You might not agree with the Freemans about mining, but at least they’re living life and highlighting one of Northern Minnesota’s most objectively beautiful assets.
Writing teachers always advise to show, not tell. The same is true for those of us living through Northern Minnesota’s ongoing transition to a new era.