ST. PAUL – Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston, has joined a bipartisan list of more than 50 Minnesota legislators urging support for Congressman Tom Emmer’s bill to reverse the last-minute land withdrawals and to require congressional approval for any future withdrawal actions.
The bill (H.R. 3905) came in response to the Obama administration’s decision in the final months of his second term to withdraw nearly 240,000 acres of federal lands from potential development, effectively killing the proposed Twin Metals mining project in Northeast Minnesota. Congress is expected to vote on the bill this week.
“Government inaction and obstruction on mining already has caused serious economic damage to northern Minnesota,” Green said. “Congressman Emmer’s bill would help to finally stop the bleeding and allow us to start the process of bringing some new growth to the region. With what is at stake and with this large amount of bipartisan support in Minnesota, it’s hard to comprehend how anyone could turn their back on us.”
The land withdrawal decision by the Obama administration put 17,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in overall economic impact for Minnesota at risk. In addition, it would result in billions in lost revenue for Minnesota’s Permanent School Trust Fund.
The bill does not supersede federal, state, or local environmental regulations, and does not permit mining or prospecting in the Boundary Waters. The bill includes clarifying language stating that “nothing should be construed to permit prospecting for development and utilization of mineral resources within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or Mine Protection Area.”