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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Spencer Igo (R)

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Capitol Newsletter from Rep. Spencer Igo

Friday, January 27, 2023

Dear Neighbors,

Yesterday, the Biden Administration announced that they are implementing a 20-year moratorium on mining in northern Minnesota. The announcement came via Public Land Order 7917 which withdraws portions of the Superior National Forest from operation of the mineral and geothermal leasing laws for the next 20 years.

In response to this egregious announcement, the bipartisan Iron Range Delegation sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reconsider the order.

You can read the letter here.

Simply put, the order is an all-out attack on the communities and region that we call home. It is unacceptable that President Biden is once again choosing to invest taxpayer dollars in the development of Chinese owned mines in nations that employ child-slave labor while blocking the development of taconite, copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum-group elements, and many more critical minerals here in America.

Despite this setback, I will continue fighting tooth and nail to defend our communities and our way of life on the Range. Let’s invest in high-wage, union-protected jobs right here in America by developing our vast mineral wealth in a safe and responsible manner.

Supporting Miners

On Monday, the Minnesota House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that extends unemployment benefits for roughly 400 miners laid off from Cleveland-Cliffs Northshore Mining operations last May.

The bill was approved by a vote of 127-7 and was signed by Gov. Walz on Thursday afternoon.

This was about doing the right thing for Minnesotans and offering a helping hand to neighbors that have been laid off through no fault of their own. The strong showing of bipartisan support is a clear sign to miners on the Iron Range that we have their back.

Moving forward, I will continue to work hard on supporting miners and promoting our safe, responsible mining in the Northland so that we can continue to deliver the materials needed to build our communities, state, and nation!

Governor Budget Proposal

On Tuesday, Gov. Walz released his budget proposal. In total, he is proposing a $65 billion budget for 2023-2024. This would mark a nearly 25% increase in total government spending when compared to the budget that was approved two years ago.

Such a dramatic increase in spending is concerning and likely unsustainable.

He is also proposing several tax increases which are unacceptable at a time when we have a $17.5 billion budget surplus. Let’s work to give this surplus back to you through lasting, permanent, and generational tax reductions that benefit all Minnesotans.

Finally, as always, the governor’s budget proposal is simply a conversation starter. The duty of appropriating your tax dollars lies directly with the legislature and I look forward to that work in the weeks and months ahead.

Blackout Bill

This week, the House approved House File 7. This bill extends and increases Minnesota’s renewable energy standard to 55 percent by 2035 and requires electric utilities in the state to generate or acquire 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040.

Minnesotans, especially those of us in the Northland and on the Iron Range, understand the importance of having access to reliable and affordable energy. Unfortunately, this bill will put affordability and reliability on the backburner all in the name of “clean energy”.

It is estimated that this legislation will raise energy bills by $1,600/year for Minnesota families. Additionally, the mandates that are being pushed have been implemented in California. All of us have seen the significant issues that California has had with rolling blackouts. We don’t want that here in Minnesota, especially in the middle of winter.

There is no doubt that we should pursue energy policies that are renewable and as clean as possible. All of us have an interest in preserving the environment and protecting our natural resources. However, we cannot pursue these goals while sacrificing affordability and reliability for Minnesotans. This bill was an easy “no” vote for me.

Staying in Touch

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4936 or via email at

Have a great day,