SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora) issued the following statement regarding today’s action by the U.S. Department of the Interior to cancel a pair of mineral leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper/nickel mine:
“I’m extremely frustrated with the Department of the Interior's decision to cancel Twin Metals’ leases. Evaluation of these projects shouldn’t be political decisions that shift with elections. The best way to get good information on the benefits and remaining questions is to let the regulatory experts do their work. We want everyone to trust the science during a global health pandemic, and similarly, we should want everyone to trust the science when evaluating these projects. This cutting-edge 21st Century mine would have the latest technology for its operations, including dry stack tailings storage and an electrified mine vehicle fleet. Had the regulatory process been allowed to move forward under our laws, the study likely would have demonstrated this isn't the same kind of mine that people saw 50 years ago and we can process these materials safely while protecting our clean water resources.
“The minerals in the Duluth Complex are crucial to our country's clean energy future and we shouldn’t have to continually rely on foreign sources to fuel our country's aspirations. How can we realistically pursue our clean energy goals without the materials needed to develop vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar panels right here at home? It also doesn’t bode well for America’s national security to rely on Russia and China for these critical minerals.
“Today’s decision means we will lose out on the potential for significant numbers of quality jobs and economic development for our region – not to mention missing out on immense untapped financial resources for Minnesota schools through the School Trust Fund. Especially during this time when people in northern Minnesota are working to recover from economic turmoil, leaders need to show leadership. Unfortunately, with this decision, the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management chose hypocrisy instead.”