As someone active in our school district and as a recent school board member, I was struck by the March 19 News Tribune story about the plans for copper-nickel mining under the new administration of President Joe Biden (“Biden administration reviewing Trump administration's renewal of Twin Metals leases”). Our Minnesota school districts, especially here in the Twin Cities suburbs, are in constant need of new funding.

I’m not sure if people even realize this, but royalties from mining go to fund opportunities in K-12 schools in every corner of our state. This has meant hundreds of millions of dollars for our schools in the past 10 years, and we are looking at billions for our schools in upcoming years if we are able to responsibly permit and build the copper-nickel mines currently being developed.

As someone concerned about education funding, it drives me crazy that there are organizations that would play politics with our kids’ futures. The only way to truly know if a company can meet or exceed Minnesota’s environmental standards is to evaluate the science behind its specific project. We should be ashamed of ourselves if we are not, at a bare minimum, advocates for allowing investments in our state and investments in our kids and schools to go through the process our regulatory agencies have set up for permitting.

Activists are demanding that Biden ignore science and the rule of law and unilaterally cancel mineral leases. We need our U.S. senators and governor to speak in favor of these projects if the science meets or exceeds Minnesota’s environmental permitting standards. I encourage school boards, superintendents, and teachers across Minnesota to stand up for our kids. We must allow companies like Twin Metals exploring mining opportunities to go through the permitting process.

Follow the science, approve the permits, fund our schools.

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Bill Gilles

Stillwater, Minnesota

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