Paul Austin

Paul Austin is the director of Conservation Minnesota, a statewide non-profit. In that role, he gets to hear and share Minnesotan’s stories about our lakes, lands and way of life. Paul’s past lives include election as a small town mayor, serving at the US Agency for International Development, and managing a small marketing firm. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two small children and one very large dog.

Is Sulfide Mining Right for Minnesota? A conversation for all Minnesotans

Posted by: Paul Austin Updated: May 24, 2012 - 12:23 PM
The Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the summer season. Many Minnesota families will head north this summer to enjoy areas along Lake Superior or the Boundary Waters. These are iconic areas that make Minnesota … Minnesota. Whether you live, work or play in the northland, the area is important to all Minnesotans.
 
Three non-profit organizations, Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) have launched an educational initiative known as Mining Truth. The goal is to engage all Minnesotans – including mining companies, non-profit organizations, businesses, policy makers and private citizens – in a respectful, open, fact-based dialogue about the issue of sulfide mining. Mining Truth is built on the notion that while this issue is controversial, emotional and has far-reaching implications, the more Minnesotans who are part of the discussion and decision, the better off we will all be. 
 
Sulfide mining isn’t your grandfather’s iron mining. This type of mining produces metals like copper, nickel and gold, but its byproducts include sulfuric acid and toxic contaminants. Currently two sulfide mines are proposed in Minnesota’s lake country, one near Lake Superior and one near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The two mining companies, PolyMet and Twin Metals, have active drilling activities underway to support their proposals.
 
The evidence shows there is reason to be cautious about effects on our lakes, rivers and groundwater, but we must also recognize that the immediate need for jobs in Northern Minnesota is real. Mining Truth is intended to give Minnesotans access to information on all aspects of the issue – including economic, environmental and policy views – and to encourage a respectful conversation by anyone who wants to join.
 
I hope you will visit www.miningtruth.org to take the “Take Two, Ask Two” pledge by Memorial Day. The pledge is a promise to take two minutes to learn about sulfide mining, and then ask two friends to do the same. The pledge and more information can be found at MiningTruth.org or on the Mining Truth Facebook page.
 
 

  

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