Our home in northeastern Minnesota is unique. We are blessed to be part of a community where we experience all four seasons (some longer than others); where our world-class hockey players first strap on their skates; where our Superior National Forest offers unrivaled beauty and recreation; and where our miners mine the materials that build our nation, drive our economy and meet our national security needs.
Underneath our Superior National Forest lie deposits of precious minerals. Veins of copper, nickel and other precious metals promise high-wage mining jobs to complement our timber, taconite and tourism. With modern mining technology, our family, friends and neighbors will safely mine these metals like they have iron ore for over 150 years. Our miners, educated and trained in our communities, use state-of-the-art technology to develop our resources powering our modern world, including smartphones, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles.
Because northeastern Minnesota is our home, a place where we live our daily lives, raise our families and recreate, we hold this project to the highest environmental standards in the world. Like any project, this mine requires compliance with stringent federal and state laws administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and others.
Leases allowing our workers to mine these mineral deposits have been held by Twin Metals or predecessor companies since 1966. These leases have been renewed multiple times, generating millions of dollars to the federal government in fees during exploration and sampling. Unfortunately, bureaucrats in the Obama administration, with only 16 days remaining in office, decided to withdraw these leases. This was an unfortunate setback for those who rely on these good-paying jobs. According to the Obama administration, Washington, D.C., and wealthy environmentalist elites know how to handle our land and resources better than we do.
Recently, Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Joe Balash signed the Twin Metals Hardrock Mineral Leases, signaling the Trump administration’s support for our Superior National Forest, our families and our jobs. Like iron mining has done for generations, mining these precious metals will safeguard our nation by decreasing our dependence on foreign countries while providing our workers with high wage jobs to provide for their families.
In the coming months, Twin Metals will offer a mine plan of operation. Our regulations, the strongest in the world, will ensure the company operates at the highest of environmental and labor standards. The environmental lobby, with support from well-funded metro and coastal elites, as well as political allies hailing from districts a long way from ours, will always evade science and try to prevent us from using our land by employing emotion and scare tactics.
However, this is our home. This is where we raise our children to be good stewards of our land and where they will be offered the opportunity to work in modern, high-wage mining vocations.
To be permitted, Twin Metals is required to follow the process. And once the project is permitted, our Superior National Forest will continue to provide recreation and resources for our family, friends and neighbors for generations to come.
Pete Stauber, a Republican, represents Minnesota’s Eighth District in the U.S. House. On Twitter: @RepPeteStauber.