In the past three weeks, former Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Tina Smith have publicly declared concerns about the Twin Metals mining project, which would cause irreparable harm to the treasured Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). In a letter to the Department of Interior, Smith requested a resumption of the 2017 study on the safety and health of copper-nickel mining in environmentally sensitive areas such as the BWCA. That study was halted without explanation by the previous administration. However, there are two other projects that should also be included in any study designed to protect the drinking water essential to our state.
We should bear in mind that 56% of Minnesota’s rivers, lakes, and streams are already “impaired.” We can hardly afford more risk.
The PolyMet proposal
The first project is the PolyMet mining undertaking, located just eight miles from the Twin Metals project. Both mines threaten the very health and safety of two vital sources of clean water: the BWCA and Lake Superior. Both have harmful effluents, including mercury and arsenic, that will will leach. Both are shell companies spun out by foreign mining conglomerates that are not signatories to the state’s contract, thereby avoiding liability, and both have international records of illegalities including breach of contract, child labor, bribery, tax evasion, and flight from areas and nations they devastated. Glencore, the owner of PolyMet, is currently under investigation by our nation’s Justice Department for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and laundering of monies and in Great Britain for bribery.
In spite of this sordid record, not one public official nor any media outlet can explain why any governmental entity is doing business with such international rogues. Nor has anyone in public office or in any governmental position come forth with anything that differentiates the Twin Metals project from PolyMet. Not one.
Enbridge’s Line 3 project
Enbridge is a pipeline project that, like PolyMet and Twin Metals, involves exploitation of our valuable water resources and people. This undertaking is billed as a replacement for an aging pipeline, but in reality it is considerably larger and in a different location. When completed, Line 3 will be one of the world’s largest oil carriers, with an expected load of 915,000 barrels per day. It will extend from Alberta, Canada, to Lake Superior, crossing Leech Lake and the Fond du Lac Reservation as well as other smaller and valuable lakes, wetlands, and rice beds.
When an accident occurs, and that is certain, it would have dire consequences for those on the reservation as well as all residents in metropolitan Minnesota and the towns and cities that draw their drinking water from the Mississippi River.
Now Enbridge has…