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Reader's view: Money from mines speaks louder than citizens

On May 31 Minnesota's executive council approved 77 new mineral leases, 25 percent of them on privately owned lands ("Amid protests, state expands mineral exploration," June 1). This allows heavy-metal mining companies to drill deep, exploratory ...

On May 31 Minnesota's executive council approved 77 new mineral leases, 25 percent of them on privately owned lands ("Amid protests, state expands mineral exploration," June 1). This allows heavy-metal mining companies to drill deep, exploratory holes into the Earth to search for copper, nickel, gold and other heavy metals. It involves 22,000 acres of our forests, lakes and wetlands.

This is in addition to hundreds of shafts already drilled.

Mining executives were on hand to assure people that all safety procedures would be followed. They failed to mention that no environmental impact statements are required for exploratory drilling. They tried to assure property owners that chances are slim that mining actually will take place on their properties. However, they wouldn't be spending millions drilling in specific locations if they didn't expect to find ore.

It has been the job of mining's public relations to lull us into believing heavy-metal mining will not harm our environment. They've done a good job. Our public officials are willing to ignore the industry's long record of severe pollution, which is detailed at miningtruth.

org. In Western states, which are drier and less vulnerable than Minnesota, heavy-metal mining is the single-largest cause of Superfund expenditures. Furthermore, cleanup has meant containment, not recovery. Water polluted by acid mine runoff remains polluted indefinitely.

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Plans are in the works to make Minnesota's Arrowhead the largest copper-nickel mining region in the world. This is what our elected officials are welcoming into our state.

Last winter, 13,000 Minnesotans signed a petition to put a moratorium on sulfide mining.

The ore isn't going anywhere. Our state could wait for proof that the mining can be done safely in a water-laden environment before allowing the industry into Minnesota.

Apparently money from the mines overshadows prudence. Apparently money speaks much more loudly than citizens.

Cheryl Dannenbring

Duluth

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