Editorial pushes back against mining opponents from the Cities

The Mesabi Daily News has had it with the big-city folk trying to destroy the Iron Range’s way of life.

In a front page editorial, the Virginia, Minn., has declared that efforts to stop mining on the Range “stop here.”

Specifically, the editorial called for a boycott of a U.S. Forest Service hearing next month on a proposed 20-year mining ban on 234,000 acres of land in northeast Minnesota.

Twin Metals has invested $400 million to develop a copper-nickel mine near Ely which opponents say threaten water as well as the tourism economy.

The editorial suggests the Range is tired of the Twin Cities crowd calling the shots, which it says amounts to ” putting the everyday Iron Ranger on trial by a jury of its uniformed peers.”

These hearings, on the taxpayers’ dime, are a mockery of working government. Go to Duluth, go to St. Paul, Ely or Virginia and it’s the same group of people talking on both sides.

What more is there to hear? And what is there to learn about mining in St. Paul? The Forest Service says it seeks a wide opinion on the subject, so by that logic environmental hearings on the St. Croix Bridge or the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project should have hearings on the Iron Range.

But it won’t happen because this is the playground for the Twin Cities, and they’ll get there “one funeral at a time,” as Becky Rom, the leader of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, has been quoted by The Progressive, a grassroots publication that champions progressive politics.

We have a deep pride in our history of mining. We helped the United States win wars over dictators, the iron ore leaving here by train helps fuel the economy of Duluth and Two Harbors. It builds safe, reliable infrastructure from U.S.-made steel, and the minerals this region wants to mine will provide for the tech boom in Silicon Valley.

We aren’t afraid of funerals, and we certainly aren’t afraid of the Twin Cities crowd. We’re just tired of being the disrespected sideshow that has to explain its entire existence.

Last week, several conservation, hunting, and fishing groups started a campaign to pressure Rep. Rick Nolan to drop his opposition to a mining moratorium on federal land.

(h/t: Meg Martin)