WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) and Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) released the following statements after Department of Interior Assistant Secretary of Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash signed the Twin Metals Hardrock Mineral Leases.
“Following the Interior's announcement today, I am pleased that the Trump Administration acknowledges that we can responsibly develop our state’s resources - bringing jobs back to this region - while preserving the forests, lakes and streams that all Minnesotans hold dear," said Congressman Emmer. "Our state and local economies deserve to prosper, and we can ensure that, while also protecting Minnesota’s beauty for future generations. When it comes to protecting the environment and developing our economic assets, nobody does it better than Minnesota.”
“In northern Minnesota, mining is our past, our present, and our future. With 21st century technology, we can responsibly develop the resources needed for the modern world and unleash the economic engine of northeastern Minnesota." said Congressman Stauber. "Unfortunately, misinformed policies of the past have not only prevented the responsible development of our resources but have even prohibited companies like Twin Metals from even submitting a proposed mining plan. I applaud Secretary Bernhardt and the Trump Administration for putting politics aside and rightfully giving our miners the opportunity to meet or exceed all environmental standards.”
During the last days of his administration, President Obama proposed withdrawing more than 200,000 acres of federal land with a prohibition on development, potentially instating a 20-year ban on industry activity.
In October 2017, Congressman Emmer introduced Minnesota’s Economic Rights (MINER) in the Superior National Forest Act to restore Minnesota's right to explore and, if environmentally appropriate, mine valuable precious metals. The House passed Emmer's MINER Act in November 2017 followed closely by action from the Department of Interior to renew the mineral leases in the area.
In June 2018, President Trump's announced his commitment to ending the two-year study and fully restoring Minnesota's right to explore during his visit to Duluth. In September 2018, the Trump Administration reversed President Obama’s political mineral withdrawal.