Lake County DFL hits Nolan for mining support

Minnesota politicsRep. Rick Nolan (D-MN8) now faces criticism within his own party for supporting a pro-mining bill earlier this year. Last Friday, the Lake County DFL passed a resolution out of its central committee condemning Nolan’s vote for the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, or H.R. 761. The story appeared yesterday in the Lake County News Chronicle. Here’s an excerpt from the Tammy Francois article:

The resolution was submitted at a DFL party meeting in Ely by Fall Lake resident Brad Sagen.

“The bill would fast-track mining proposals and remove most of the environmental review and public participation. Sulfide-ore mining has never been done safely in North America,” he said. “Northeastern Minnesota is a water-rich environment that would increase substantially the environmental damage found in every other sulfide-ore mine project.”

Sagen’s strongly worded resolution calls HR 761 “a blatant industry attempt to remove environmental review and environmental protection from proposals to introduce copper nickel mining in Northeastern Minnesota,” and notes “the vast majority of House Democrats recognized this industry strategy and voted against the bill. Only Rep. Nolan and a handful of other Democrats voted in favor.”

The Lake County DFL has been one of the more outspoken parts of the Northern MN DFL coalition opposing new mining in the Lake Superior and Boundary Waters watersheds. DFLers on the Iron Range tend to support new mining, illustrating the delicate terrain Nolan and other federal DFL officials face on the issue.

I discussed Nolan’s vote here. Gov. Dayton made news this week talking about the new nonferrous mining proposals, declaring neutrality until more information is available.

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