The Jan. 12 letter, "Criticism of Twin Metals lame, getting old," distracted from the real issue that Antofagasta, owner of Twin Metals, is a water-polluting, water-depleting, corrupt corporation responsible for severe environmental damage in Chile. If Chileans don't matter, why would Minnesotans? Chile's port city of Antofagasta, its copper-mining hub, is a cancer capital.

The letter likened Antofagasta to foreign-owned car companies in the U.S. - Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Isuzu, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen - to show, I suppose, that Minnesotans can be cheerleaders for Antofagasta. After all, "Twin Metals employs Americans," the letter proclaimed.

Americans apparently didn't matter during Volkswagen's cover-up of diesel-emissions actions that cost the company $4.3 billion or during a similar emissions scandal by Mercedes-Benz. Or during Toyota's cover-up of unintended-acceleration issues, reportedly causing at least 89 deaths, according to CBS News. Or during the recalls of Takata airbags by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, the massive cover-up involving multiple deaths and injuries. Or during the Hyundai and Kia recalls that followed a whistleblower reporting safety defects. Mitsubishi's cover-up and recalls reportedly didn't reach U.S. sales.

There'll be no recall should Antofagasta or PolyMet pollute our waters for perpetuity.

The letter also touted the foreign ownerships of Iron Range taconite and steel-making plants that provide materials for foreign-owned vehicles. But some taconite and steel-making plants operate on noncompliant, expired permits, and owners have complained about the financial difficulty in using reverse osmosis. Do proponents of copper-nickel mining recognize this glaring reverse-osmosis contradiction?

Antofagasta's ownership of Twin Metals is a strong argument for anyone determined to protect Minnesota's waters and the health of Minnesota's children. Antofagasta's record of air and water pollution and disregard for Chile's children speak for themselves.

Another argument is needed beyond the letter's - maybe one based on science or common sense. Red herrings are getting old.

Carla Arneson