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Stauber and Nolan Push Last Ditch Passage of Mining Bill

Congressman-elect Pete Stauber has a few more weeks before going to DC as Minnesota’s new Eighth Congressional District representative. But the Republican isn’t wasting any time getting behind bipartisan legislation introduced by his Democratic predecessor Cong. Rick Nolan to make way for more mining in northern Minnesota. The sooner, the better, preferably before Stauber’s swearing in, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

“We both strongly agree on the importance of environmentally safe mining in northern Minnesota,” Stauber said in his news release statement. “If this legislation doesn’t become law, one of my first acts in the 116th Congress will be to introduce Nolan’s land exchange bill so we can unleash the economic engine in the 8th District and create good-paying jobs for working families in our region.”

The Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act (H.R. 3115) introduced by Nolan would supersede four court cases by environmental groups designed to bog down approval for environmentally responsible mining for years.

Since Congress has authority over federal lands, approval by federal lawmakers would serve to shield the land transaction by snuffing existing court challenges made by opponents of the land swap.

Nolan said last week he was continuing to try to get the legislation amended onto one bill or another prior to the end of the year.

You might expect this rare example of bipartisanship to be commended in the current polarized political climate. Instead, the naysayers attacked both politicians.

Critics described Stauber and Nolan as “tripping over themselves” in an effort to bypass the courts.

“They’re apparently afraid that this illegal land exchange will get thrown out in court, so they’re trying to change the law,” said Marc Fink, the Duluth-based attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs in four lawsuits challenging the land exchange.

In fact, the land exchange already occurred earlier this year.  A judge put the court challenges to the transaction on hold pending potential action in Congress, but time’s running short.

“As the Congressman-elect of the 8th Congressional District I am encouraging the current Congress to support legislation introduced by Rep. Nolan that would finalize the land exchange in northern Minnesota for PolyMet Mining,” Stauber said — making good on his campaign promise to support mining expansion in all its forms.

Check out American Experiment’s new report and TV ad on the enormous statewide benefits of environmentally responsible mining at MinnesotaMines.com.

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