There is a selfishness among those in the tourism industry. They only seem to care about their businesses, with their minds closed (“In northern Minnesota, neighbors navigate the bitter fight over copper-nickel mining,” Feb. 13).
The benefit of copper-nickel mining will be its win-win for all businesses in Ely, Babbitt, and other communities. New people will move to these communities for the good-paying jobs that will provide for families. Homes will be bought, and our tax base will increase with the possible reduction of taxes for all. Schools will see enrollments increase. Hospitals will be more stable. Established businesses will see increases in patrons. New businesses will fill empty storefronts. Friends and relatives of new mine workers will visit the area and see what we all love about living so near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. And tourism will flourish, increasing business at resorts like Timber Bay Lodge and Houseboats, which was cited in the Feb. 13 story.
With regard to Twin Metals, huge revenues would be generated for all Minnesota schools because the mining would be on School Trust lands.
Ron Rykken, whose family has run Timber Bay for two generations, said in the story that he doesn't see any benefit to his business from copper-nickel mining. He just has to look at the bigger picture.
As for Sue Schurke’s comment in the article that there is a distinction between iron mining and copper-nickel mining: no, there is not. Taconite has been mined in higher sulfide ore and has been dealt with properly. Dunka Pit is an example. In all the years of mining in this area, since the 1960s, there has not been any adverse effect on Birch Lake or on the Boundary Waters. Yes, there have been issues, but they have been addressed. And still, no impact to Birch Lake or the Boundary Waters.
In 1990, when Cypress took over the former Reserve property (now Northshore), the first thing workers had to do was pump water from a higher sulfide pit. There were barrels of brook trout in the 2% sulfide ore pit. A geologist gave my Conservationists with Common Sense group a picture of one of the brook trout. Trout are considered a canary-in-the-coal-mine species sensitive to environmental factors. Yet the brook trout survived and multiplied.
Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill to withdraw 234,000 acres from future mining is based on pure speculation of what may happen (“Bill would ban copper-nickel mining near BWCAW,” Jan. 16). Twin Metals’ mine plan should go through the environmental process.
Nancy McReady of Ely is president of the grassroots nonprofit Conservationists with Common Sense (cwcs.org).