DFL State Central Committee Formally Supports A Moratorium Banning Copper-Nickel Mining in Minnesota

Last weekend, the DFL State Central Committee officially adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium banning copper-nickel mining projects in Minnesota, according to the DFL Environmental Caucus’s Facebook page. The move is the latest sign that the policies endorsed by the party are moving further toward the agenda’s of urban environmentalists and further away from the rural roots of the party that support farmers and laborers.

The move is also the latest sign the energy and environmental policies of the party are moving further and further away from reality.

Not only does the party platform now officially oppose copper-nickel mining, something mining supporters have long suspected, but it also calls for increasing the use of wind and solar, which require enormous amounts of copper, nickel, and cobalt. The platform also opposes nuclear power, which along with hydroelectric power are the only sources of reliable carbon-free electricity.

In short, the DFL environmental platform is an incoherent screed of contradictions. They want want more renewables, but they don’t want to mine in Minnesota. They think climate change will be the death of the human race, but they refuse to support the only technologies (nuclear and hydro) that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions without causing the rolling blackouts that affected California earlier this month.

But, back to mining. According to the Facebook post:

“The DFL and the DFL Environmental Caucus Supports a moratorium banning copper-nickel sulfide mining in Northeastern Minnesota’s watersheds, for the protection of some of America’s greatest treasures including but not limited to Lake Superior, the BWCAW and Voyageurs National Park, until such time as such mining is proven first to be safe in water-rich environments.”

Based on this paragraph, all of the potential copper-nickel mining sites in Minnesota would be off limits, forever. I say forever because if the moratorium were truly going to be in place “until such a time as such mining is proven first to be safe in water-rich environments,” then the DFL wouldn’t have passed this resolution in the first place.

The Eagle Mine, which is located in Upper Michigan in the Lake Superior watershed, has been safely producing nickel and copper since the fall of 2014. Additionally, the Flambeau mine in Wisconsin also responsibly developed natural resources in a water rich environment. If the DFL party platform were being honest about needing to see an example of a responsible mine in the Midwest before allowing projects to proceed in Minnesota, these projects would satisfy their demands.

The fact that they ignored these projects shows the moratorium is an excuse to ban mining, not an honest evaluation of the best-available science.

There was nothing scientific about this decision, at all. Just like there is zero scientific justification for delaying the Line 3 replacement project or banning nuclear power. Liberals pretend they have a monopoly on intelligence when they bleat about “following the science,” but in reality they ignore scientific realities as soon as they conflict with their religious devotion to renewable energy sources and their disdain for high-paying mining jobs.

Developing Minnesota’s copper, nickel, platinum, cobalt, and titanium deposits has the potential to create up to 4,667 direct jobs in the mining industry, which pay an average of $80,000 per year, support 4,912 indirect jobs, and 5,271 induces jobs, for a total of 14,851 jobs and generate $5.9 billion in annual economic output.

Mining these minerals in Minnesota would create thousands of opportunities for Minnesota families and Iron Range communities while making the United States less dependent upon foreign countries for the metals we rely upon every day. We would also being a better steward of the Earth, because if we don’t mine in Minnesota where environmental protections are strong, production will shift to developing countries where protections are weak.