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Shutting Down Boswell Energy Center Would Devastate the Iron Range Economy

Standing on the banks of the Mississippi River in Cohasset, Minnesota, the Boswell Energy Center is the most productive, lowest-cost source of electricity in the entire state. Because Minnesota’s mining and paper industries use massive quantities of electricity, only the coal-fired Boswell plant can provide the reliable, affordable electricity needed to keep these industries running strong. However, liberal lawmakers from the Twin Cities—and their friends in the wind and solar lobby—want to shut the plant down to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, even though doing so would have zero measurable impact on future global temperatures. It would, however, have devastating consequences for Iron...

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Mining Is An Essential Industry, Tourism Is Not

According to the Walz administration, the mining industry is essential, the tourism industry is not. The people of Northeastern Minnesota support expanded mining in their region, and one would assume the current closure of nonessential businesses would only reinforce this support. Why would they want to put all of their eggs in a nonessential basket?...

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Montana Regulators Approve New Copper Mine

Montana regulators have approved a new copper mine, known as the Black Butte Copper Project, in Central Montana. The mine is owned by Sandfire Resources America Inc., and the company expects this environmentally-responsible mine to deliver a big economic boost into the local community. According to the company's website, the company expects to employ 240 full-time employees and an additional 50 full-time contractors with annual average wages estimated to be $65,000 per year. If these projections hold true, the company would be the largest employer within a 50 mile radius of the mine. Urban liberals often roll their eyes at the economic...

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Metro To Miners: You’ll Have to Do Something Else

A recent story in Politco  entitled "Minnesota on the edge: 'I've voted Democrat my whole life. It's getting tougher," details how the political leanings of Minnesotans on the Iron Range, who had traditionally leaned toward the DFL, are beginning to shift. The shift is occurring because a significant number of people living on The Range feel that the party has become more focused on its urban constituency, which has lost touch with the pro-labor, pro-mining constituencies on The Range. Energy and environmental issues are at the forefront of the diverging interests of urban liberals and blue-collar workers up North. Urban greens,...

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Minnesota Ranked as 4th Biggest Mining State in 2019

Many people in the Twin Cities are vaguely aware of the fact that Minnesota mines iron ore, but few understand the scale or importance of mining to the communities who develop our iron ore resources, or the important implications it has for our country. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Minerals Commodities Survey, Minnesota leapfrogged California to become the 4th largest mining state in the country, based on the value of minerals sold. The primary minerals mined were iron ore, lime, sand and gravel (construction), sand and gravel, (industrial), and crushed stone. Minnesota improved one spot in the ranks compared...

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Can Mining in Minnesota Reduce Child Labor in the Congo?

Cobalt has become a controversial topic in the debate over copper nickel mining in Minnesota’s Duluth Complex. This metal, which is used in the lithium ion batteries in laptops, tablets, and electric cars, has become a lighting rod because most of the cobalt produced in the world comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where some of the cobalt is mined using child labor. Virtually everyone has a cellphone, laptop, or tablet that has a battery requiring cobalt. This has led many people to ask the question, can mining in Minnesota reduce the demand for unethically mined cobalt in...

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House To Hear McCollum’s Minnesota Mining Ban Bill Tomorrow in D.C.

Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a hearing on a bill that would permanently ban mining for precious metals in more than 200,000 acres in Northeastern Minnesota. The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, a Democrat who resides in St. Paul. While the legislation would not affect the proposed PolyMet mine project, it would take much of Minnesota's vast treasure of copper and nickel deposits off the table for development, effectively destroying the possibility of mining companies creating up to 4,600 high-paying mining jobs in the region, forever. Last week, I attended a pro-mining event held by Congressman Pete...

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Friction Among Minnesota Greens and Blue Collar Workers Intensifies After PolyMet Delays

On Monday, we got the news that Minnesota Court of Appeals dealt a setback to the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota by sending two crucial permits, the permit to mine and the dam safety permit, back to the Department of Natural Resources. The ruling, which also stated the agency must hold a contested case hearing, has opened a widened a rift between the environmental wing of liberal interests in Minnesota, and the blue collar workers who traditionally supported liberal lawmakers. A case in point is this statement from Jason George, who is the Business Manager for the Local 49...

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Minnesota Court of Appeals Delays PolyMet Project

Yesterday the Minnesota Court of Appeals dealt a setback to the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota. In the ruling, the Court sent two crucial permits, the permit to mine and the dam safety permit, back to the Department of Natural Resources. The ruling also stated the agency must hold a contested case hearing, which would require an administrative law judge to examine additional evidence and testimony on the project. The ruling is bad news for the Northeastern Minnesota communities who are eager for the economic boost that would accompany more mining. The PolyMet mine would provide 360 high-paying jobs at...

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This Year in Energy and Environment: 2019 Edition

With 2020 upon us, I'd like to reflect back on 2019 because it was a banner year for energy and environmental issues here at Center of the American Experiment. Here are some of the highlights from each month. In January, American Experiment submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the lease renewal for the Twin Metals Minnesota mine. Since then Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. We also covered the fact that wind and solar were not working during Polar Vortex in real time, highlighting the dangers of relying upon...

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