Forest Service Conducting Public Input Process about not renewing mining leases

Take action. Share this information. Sign the online petition here. The United States Forest Service (USFS) recently announced that it may try to block the renewal of two federal mining leases for Twin Metals Minnesota in northeast Minnesota and prevent all future mining opportunities in the Rainy River Watershed from moving forward. This is despite the USFS’ previous support for these lease renewals in 1989 and 2004 when the agency stated that the leases had no adverse environmental impacts (additional background on these leases is available here). Not only would blocking these renewals result in detrimental effects to Minnesota’s mining industry in general, it would also leave thousands of jobs for our future generations at risk.

To make its decision, the USFS is conducting a 30-day public input period June 20 through July 20, 2016, to receive comments from the public on this topic. The USFS should follow the formal and well-established environmental review process for mining projects set forth under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Environmental aspects of projects should be studied under the thorough, multi-agency, science–based Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process that is required by NEPA after a specific mining project is proposed.

As a Minnesota coalition representing businesses, middle class workers, labor, local governments and many others, we support a strong regulatory process. It is not appropriate to address the USFS’ speculative and hypothetical environmental concerns under the normally routine federal mineral lease renewal process. This stance was reiterated in a joint letter to legislators sent from our organization, along with the Range Association of Municipalities & Schools, in which we also asked that the USFS hold a public comment and listening session on the Iron Range. When we see regulators straying from the process, we need to stand up and have our voices be heard.

Show your support by commenting and signing the online petition by July 20 and join us on Wednesday, July 13, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) to support a process that protects our livelihoods and environment for future generations.

Reprinted from the Jobs for Minnesotans website.