Stauber brings congressional field hearing on mining to the Range
MOUNTAIN IRON, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Federal lawmakers, led by Minnesota’s Republican Congressman Pete Stauber, spent Tuesday touring and hearing about mining opportunities on the Iron Range.
However, their visit was met with some resistance from constituents who say their representative isn’t listening to them.
With a flank of fellow Republican congressmen at his side, Representative Stauber hosted a field hearing on mining in Mountain Iron Tuesday.
“You know, mining is our past, our present, our future, and I can tell you our future is bright,” Stauber said.
Tuesday Morning, Stauber and his cohort of members from the House Committee on Natural Resources toured New Range Copper Nickel before the hearing.
Stauber said current permitting processes and bans on copper-nickel mining are detrimental to Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District.
“Sadly, we are not currently mining any of these precious metals due to onerous permitting regimes, bad decisions made by activists, administrations, and of course, endless litigation,” Stauber said.
Specifically, Stauber pointed to a 20-year ban the Biden Administration recently put on mining within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Watershed.
That ban directly impacts Twin Metals, which has proposed building an underground copper-nickel mine, a project Stauber has supported.
The Biden Administration put that ban in play due to environmental concerns.
A group of people who protested Tuesday’s hearing are worried about that too.
“We know that there are alternatives to copper-nickel mining in this water-rich environment, and we’d like to have had people who could talk about that, again, not just industry spokespeople who are promoting it,” said Leah Rogne, a concerned citizen.
The hearing featured three witnesses called by the all-republican committee Tuesday.
Those witnesses included a rep from Talon Metals, a geologist from Big Rock Exploration and the owner of a lodge in Ely.
“This is not a balanced discussion, and I’m sure he will use what he learns today to advance his proposal,” said Kathleen McQuillan, a concerned citizen.
Stauber says all of the Democratic members of the committee were invited, but declined to attend and call their own witnesses.
In March, the House passed the Lower Energy Costs Act, which Stauber and fellow Republicans say would expedite the process of permitting for energy resources like oil, gas and minerals.
They said they are now calling on the Senate to do the same.
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