Thursday, March 08, 2012

Sled dogs deliver sulfide mining petition from Ely to St. Paul

This morning, former state Rep. Frank Moe and his team will deliver 10,000 signatures asking Minnesota to demand proof that proposed sulfide mines in northeastern Minnesota can be operated safely. Traveling 360 miles from Ely to St. Paul in one week by dog sled, Moe has traversed the state to galvanize opposition to sulfide mines that threaten to pollute the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Lake Superior watershed.

The Sled Dogs to St. Paul event has been extremely successful at focusing attention on an issue that has been ignored for too long. It's most important legacy will be to show that opposition to mines like those proposed by PolyMet and Twin Metals is statewide and diverse, not simply comprised of effete urban enviro-nazis. Rallies along the trail in Ely, Grand Marais, Finland, Duluth, and now St. Paul have been well-attended. The symbolism and visual power of this journey has drawn television coverage across the state as well, including this WCCO story yesterday.

The petitions ask for an approach, dubbed "prove it first," that is modeled after Wisconsin's sulfide mining law. The law demands that a permittee show evidence that a similar mine has operated and closed elsewhere without creating ongoing pollution. No such mine exists. Permitting a mine like PolyMet based on assurances like "we have new technology" would turn Minnesota's lakes and waters into a guinea pig. Many people depend on the quality of the environment, not just for recreation, but for their livelihood as well.
“This is how we make a living up there. And to compromise 30,000 jobs for a few hundred for 20 years and leave a legacy of pollution behind, that sounds like a bad trade to me,” said Moe.
Join Moe and his team on the State Capitol steps from 10:30 - 11:30 AM today.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

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