WASHINGTON, D.C. - Following the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) announcement to cancel the Obama administration's political mineral withdrawal in the Superior National Forest, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) released the following statement:
“The Department of Agriculture's move today to cancel the federal withdrawal is a major victory for Minnesota. My MINER Act demonstrated the strong bipartisan support that exists for unleashing our state's full mining potential. Despite arguments that Washington should make these decisions for us, now, Minnesota's mineral rights are finally restored back to the people of our great state. I am grateful to the President, Secretary Zinke, Secretary Purdue and the entire administration for their support in our efforts to fully restore Minnesota's right to explore.”
During the last days of his administration, President Obama threatened more than 425,000 acres of land with a prohibition on development, potentially instating a 20-year ban on industry activity, including up to two-years for a temporary study. This unchecked move by the former administration decimated local economies, specifically a projected loss of nearly 17,000 jobs and billions of dollars of revenue.
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.