I recently turned 78. The older I get, the more frustrated I become seeing politicians adopting short-term expediency over what’s good for the public in the long term.
Two timely examples come to mind: the infrastructure failure during the Texas cold snap and sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The greatest difference between these two issues is that while the inevitable disaster just happened in Texas, sulfide mining is not yet underway in northern Minnesota. The Texas debacle occurred because politicians purposely avoided regulations to weatherize electric, gas, and water infrastructure in response to long-predicted cold-weather events, as an expediency to cut expenses in the short term. Northland politicians perceive that the short-term boost to the regional economy from sulfide mining is worth risking our relatively pristine environment and sustainable tourist industry. In what universe is it sensible to site a sulfide mine, considered one of the world’s dirtiest industries, next to our country’s most popular wilderness area with lakes clean enough to drink from? If sulfide mining brought long-term prosperity, Butte, Montana, Kellogg, Idaho, and Leadville, Colorado, would be affluent. Instead they are best known as Superfund sites.
Texas citizens let their leaders gamble with the weather. Will we allow ours to risk our waters?
William K. Steele
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