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Sunday's front-page article ("Need for minerals a green dilemma," July 16) was a disappointingly incomplete and one-sided examination of issues surrounding copper and nickel mining in northern Minnesota. The article failed to discuss the abysmal record of water and air pollution by these foreign-owned, multinational companies. Despite assurances that they can mine without polluting, sulfide mining has a 100% pollution rate. Why do we think their actions here will be different? Do we really want to risk sulfuric acid runoff endangering the Boundary Waters, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River watersheds and elevated sulfate levels killing off wild rice, fish and other wildlife?

The assertion that we must mine if we want green energy is simply inaccurate. We currently recycle only about one third of these same metals from our various appliances and devices. If we increased recycling to 50%, we'd reclaim more copper and nickel than would be provided by northern Minnesota mining. Recycling would also provide much needed, ongoing and good paying jobs.

Finally, battery technology is moving rapidly away from expensive nickel and copper toward lower-cost technologies like lithium-iron-phosphate batteries and other next-generation batteries. The "green" need for these mines is fast fading.

Water is the most precious natural resource and one becoming increasingly precious given climate change. Minnesota leaders and citizens must do all we can to protect that vital resource from the very real dangers of copper and nickel mining.

Mary Vrabel, Minneapolis


It is long overdue that we face facts on what green energy means for our future. Beyond the shimmering solar gardens and giant wind farms there is a sobering reality looming. In the piece "Need for minerals a green dilemma," we see a fast-approaching conflict between public energy policies and the sources for raw materials. With carbon-free declarations being made by states and the federal government, there seems to be little information on how this will be done. For many years, the mining industry and geologists also wondered how these demands could be met. Zero carbon policies demand massive amounts of copper, nickel, lithium and other rare-earth minerals. To build this new infrastructure, there needs to be an immense tonnage of ore mined and processed into steel. Do the proponents realize what demands they are placing on our resources and the mining industry? Are they taking an objective look at the feasibility of doing this safely? Obviously the fossil-fuel industry has long since fallen out of favor with the green movement. But where is the benefit when we are trading one energy source for another? Just how "green" is this plan that sounds so promising? We still need to locate, mine and process earth's resources.

Northern Minnesota has a wealth of resources that are in high demand. We must foster a "can do" attitude that relies on American ingenuity and technical advancements. As a frequent visitor to northern Minnesota, I too demand that. But there must be a finite procedure for legal inquiry in the permit application process. A "not in my backyard" attitude puts American energy at risk of procuring materials from hostile nations who have little regard for environmental standards and frequently use abhorrent labor practices.

Has our "zero carbon" policy been properly vetted with regard to sufficient material sources? The International Energy Agency also has serious concerns.

It would be disastrous if America's energy transition cannot deliver due to lack of proper planning. The economic and military security of our nation is at stake, with one chance to get it right.

Joe Polunc, Waconia


Stop the escalation

"If you've got a fully loaded [gun] in your waistband, you don't have to live in fear." This quote from convicted shooter Devondre Phillips ("The life of a gun," July 16), is our future. As more people are armed and gun violence escalates, all of us will feel the need to carry a gun and to assume the other person is armed in any altercation. It leads to a shoot-first mentality that will drive gun violence higher and higher.

What can the state do, given the Supreme Court has given us an almost unlimited right to be armed? Two things will cut down on "straw purchasers" who legally buy guns and sell them to criminals. We can require a credit card to buy a gun; no more anonymous cash sales. And we can restrict buyers to one gun a day. It's not much, but our options are few.

Tom Nelson, Minneapolis


The story "The life of a gun" is very dramatic, but it lacks some facts and reality. Life of a gun? The gun is an inanimate object; it has no life. The story says the gun "started a bloodbath in St. Paul." The gun did no such thing. Very evil people started the bloodbath. Why is it if a cop kills someone with a gun you blame the cop; if a criminal kills someone with a gun, you blame the gun?

The story makes one accurate claim: Shooting crimes have reached ghastly proportions. But what has changed? You are looking in the wrong direction. Years ago, guns were available to everyone with no need for permits or background checks. Anyone could purchase a gun in department stores. One did not even have to go to a gun store. In fact, in the 1960s I purchased a 12-gauge pump shotgun, a 16-gauge single-shot shotgun and a six-shot revolver at a department store. I can't remember exactly the department stores at which I did that, but it was Montgomery Ward, Sears Roebuck or Kmart. Anyone could do that, and yet, we did not have anywhere near the killing we see today.

So, is it the gun, or is it our society and our culture? It is the latter, and the Star Tribune and most people know that, so why don't you write articles talking about that reality? Many of us are sick of watching the gun getting blamed for something that should be placed at the feet of bad people. You need to be honest and place this dreadful condition where it belongs; the blood you talk about is on the hands of society and culture itself! We can fix the problem only when we admit what the problem really is.

Earl Faulkner Sr., Edina


Limits are reasonable, not racist

Thank you, Star Tribune, for printing David Leonhardt's "A global wave — unprecedented and unpopular" (Opinion Exchange, July 16), which clarifies that the concerns of citizens of many countries about mass immigration's social costs and job threats to vulnerable workers do not necessarily constitute hatred and racism.

Immigration has become the tail wagging the dog, a sort of tyranny. Most mainstream journalists writing on the subject in recent years have portrayed immigration, legal and illegal, as a must, and any opposition as hatred/bigotry. On the contrary, few people hate immigrants. I have many immigrant friends — immigrants were invited to my wedding — yet I and others believe immigration numbers are environmentally unsustainable.

Population-conscious environmentalists view mass immigration increases to population in developed countries as enlarging their global warming footprint. Since the land mass of our country is not expanding, the only way to accommodate more residents is to plant houses on farmland, wipe out wildlife habitat in favor of development — or perhaps develop our national parklands? And don't we want our Indigenous tribes to regain sacred lands, perhaps to herd bison? (See "Bison returning to their Native American lands" in the same issue.)

Setting immigration limits is not "heartless" but common sense. Sen. Bernie Sanders as quoted is correct that business benefits from cheap labor while depressing wages for Americans. Too often those Americans are people of color. The census reported the net wealth of the median Black household was less than 8% that of the median white household. Setting immigration back to traditional numbers of less than 1 million per year is the wise, logical and compassionate choice for all our people and their families.

Linda Huhn, Minneapolis