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Reader's view: Mine investors, editorial writers playing politics

The introductory paragraph of the News Tribune’s April 29 editorial stated that legislation “to streamline permitting for PolyMet Mining fell short, a victim of politics if there ever was one” (Our View: “Cravaack: Politics killed PolyMet deal). The editorial, to conclude, urged an unnamed someone to “stop playing politics to the detriment of the public good.”

Normally, if an opinion piece begins by alleging political gamesmanship and ends with an admonishment to end such shenanigans we might expect some clear and logical explanation of exactly what games were played and how they were harmful. In this case, given the leading paragraph, we might have expected a significant effort to explain how the failure to streamline permitting for PolyMet was a bad thing.

Instead, all we received was part of one paragraph, which said only that there was a promise of “hundreds of good-paying jobs and tens of millions of dollars of transformative, community-bettering economic impact.” Nothing more than a “promise.”

This was a tremendously weak argument, given the continuing uncertainty about how many future jobs might be killed by the potential negative impacts of the mine, given the possibility of the need for millions of public tax dollars for future environmental cleanup, and given the high possibility of elevated levels of sulfate and mercury and other pollutants from the emissions from the mine.

The editorial stated that politics were played. However, there are many who are convinced that the politics are being played by those who wish to speed up the permitting of the mine before its negative impacts can be thoughtfully examined. Those who are playing politics may be the investors in the mine, politicians who wish to rush the permitting, and even newspaper editorialists.

Pete Langr