In his Sept. 3 counterpoint, state Rep. Dave Lislegard ignores the fact that Minnesota’s environmental review process and permitting standards are not designed to protect the Boundary Waters from copper mining (“We know mining. Our laws, processes work”).

The process with national public lands begins at the federal level with the question, “Is this location the right place for a mine?”

That question was answered in 2016 when the U.S. Forest Service completed a three-year scientific review of a Twin Metals mine and unequivocally determined that copper mining next to the Boundary Waters would permanently damage the wilderness. Twin Metals federal mining leases were terminated, and the Forest Service launched a detailed study to consider a long-term ban on mining as the best way to protect the wilderness. This study was abruptly aborted by President Donald Trump, and the Twin Metals leases were unlawfully resurrected from the dead.

Congress and the Star Tribune are absolutely right to demand that the Forest Service study be completed and the reports made available to the public; it is clear that the study would show that only a copper mining ban will protect the Boundary Waters. It would also show that the region would perform dramatically better as to jobs and income without copper mining.

The state process is designed for mines in mining districts, places where significant changes to ecosystems and landscapes are acceptable. State standards limit pollution of the environment — but don’t prohibit it. The Forest Service concluded there is no technology that would prevent or repair the inevitable damage to the Boundary Waters.

The greatest natural resource in the state of Minnesota is at stake. We are one Minnesota in our love for the Boundary Waters. We can create jobs and attract new residents and businesses to the Boundary Waters region by protecting it from copper mining.

Becky Rom, Ely, Minn.

The writer is the national chair for Save the Boundary Waters.


Library fee debate, and others, are happening on different planes

The recent debate over whether or not to charge overdue library fees (“Let’s shelve overdue fees,” Sept. 3, and “Overdue charges don’t discriminate,” Sept. 4) is a perfect example of arguing from different ethical frames. In moral foundations theory, first proposed by psychologist Jonathan Haidt and several colleagues, humans use combinations of up to six different ethical axioms from which to judge the world. Because of this, the participants of many arguments are essentially using different values that talk past one another.

In the present situation, the side for overdue fees is arguing from the position of fairness (“the rules are unbiased on their face, and those who break the rules should face consequences”), and the side against overdue fees is arguing from the position of care (“the effect of the rules disproportionately harm the poor and minorities”), a classic conservative/liberal split. Both sides are correct, from within their own frame of reasoning.

When confronted with such a dilemma, you can either a) convince the other side to switch to your frame of reasoning (or a third frame) using an analogous situation, or b) argue convincingly within their frame that you are still correct. It will do you no good to continue to harp on the correctness of your position without doing one of the above actions. Your opponent is not using your vocabulary and will not understand you.

I thank all Minnesotans for the passion of their beliefs, and I wish us arguments that are productive and free of vindictiveness.

Sebastian Ellefson, St. Paul


Loss of life — all life — is appalling

Certainly the loss of human life associated with Hurricane Dorian is tragic (“ ‘Total devastation’: Fears death toll could surge after Dorian ravages Bahamas,” Sept. 4), but why is the loss of human life the only loss of life reported? The Earth holds over 8 million species; Homo sapiens is just one. The Bahamas have considerable life in addition to humans; there are amphibians, birds, fish, insects, marine mammals, reptiles and domestic animals such as cats, chickens, dogs and donkeys. These are sentient creatures with nonhuman intelligence and adaptations and social structures we are just now starting to understand.

Nonhuman beings have inherent value in addition to supporting the well-being of humans with ecosystem services such as food, cleaning the air and water and adding beauty and diversity to our world. They are struggling to weather the catastrophes humans have wrought. Maybe by calling attention to the plight of those without a voice, humans will then muster the will to stave off the impending extinction of 1 million other species and save ourselves as well.

Catherine Zimmer, St. Paul


Century-old wisdom can help now

Thank you to the Star Tribune for reprinting the Labor Day editorial from the Minneapolis Morning Tribune on Sept. 1, 1919 (“A day to herald the ‘brotherhoods of toil,’ ” Sept. 2). The message that a solid relationship between capital and labor makes a better community is one that we all should remember. However, I think the last two sentences of this editorial written in 1919 contained wisdom and guidance of an even broader nature. That advice should certainly be remembered in 2019 by all Americans. Here it is: “Each should recognize that the rights of all are above the rights of a part. Each should deport itself on the fact — not merely the theory — that a free exercise of mutual good will is the only thing needful to overcome all differences and to preserve all legitimate interests.”

1919 was not a time free of turmoil in America. Those good words written then can help us now.

John Brodrick, St. Paul


Summer’s last holiday flew south

What is Labor Day like in the North Woods? Caravans of campers crawl south. ATVs, boats, kayaks, canoes hitch rides to warmer weather or to winter in garages that wager summer’s “toys” will be worth something again when they are hauled back up north into seasons of mosquitoes, campfire smoke, loon cries, frog croaks, firework flashes, kids’ laughter as they cannonball off docks and rafts, and the whiz of lines casting for fish and reeling in sunsets.

Did you see summer’s last holiday fly south? Did you hear the small talk, radio music and mile after mile of silence between “seasonal” people returning home, wishing Labor Day didn’t come until the last Monday of September and honking their horns like geese honk-honking into the horizon before them?

William Tecku, Gordon, Minn.

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