“We are getting Washington out of the lives and off the backs of thousands of hardworking Minnesotans”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) gave a speech on the House floor in celebration of overcoming the final hurdle to restoring Minnesota's mineral rights. The restoration of Minnesota's mineral rights followed the President's pledge to rescind a federal mineral withdrawal of National Forest System lands in Superior National Forest, put in place by the Obama administration in its final days.
Mr. Chairman –
I rise to offer an amendment - which I am pleased to say that I intend to withdraw - following months of hard work in this Chamber and with the Administration.
Minnesota is home to the Iron Range, which boasts an abundance of natural resources and critical minerals. When it comes to protecting the environment while developing our economic assets, nobody does it better than Minnesota.
That’s why it was especially disturbing when the Obama Administration - ON ITS VERY LAST DAY IN OFFICE - proposed to withdrawal over 240,000 acres of land in my state from mineral exploration and development.
It was communicated as a step to protect the environment, when in reality, it was Washington telling Minnesotans how to treat Minnesota.
This last minute action threatens thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in state revenue and school trust funding, and handicaps our national security by increasing our reliance on foreign sources of minerals.
That is why I offered this amendment to stop this unfounded action.
This amendment is identical to one that was unanimously adopted by this chamber last year, and is wholly consistent with legislation I introduced - and the House passed - by a strong, bipartisan vote in November.
What’s more, this amendment echoes the good news that was delivered by the President to thousands of Minnesotans on June 20th when he explicitly expressed his intent to rescind this arbitrary withdrawal.
Minnesotans are experts when it comes to mining in a responsible, environmentally cautious fashion. This amendment simply removes an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and restores this control to my home state of Minnesota.
I thank the Chairman for his work and continued support on this issue. To make a few closing points:
Nothing about this amendment would allow for mining in the Boundary Waters. Period.
In fact, to demonstrate the disconnect and level of misinformation on this issue, my colleagues who stand in opposition to this amendment worked to have report language accompany this bill which incorrectly calls attention to a “proposal to withdraw lands WITHIN the…Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from mineral and geothermal leasing laws,” despite the fact that there is no such proposal and it remains unlawful to mine within the Boundary Waters.
Nothing about this amendment eliminates any existing environmental protections.
This amendment reinforces the common sense reality that economic growth and environmental protection do not have to be mutually exclusive.
I am pleased to have the support of the House on this very important issue during the 115th Congress
I am pleased to have the pledged support and continued commitment from the Administration.
And I am pleased that we will soon be able to get Washington out of the lives and off the backs of thousands of hardworking Minnesotans.
For additional background, click here.