The big news this week is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has determined that the environmental impact statement (EIS) for PolyMet Mining, Inc.’s proposed NorthMet project meets the state’s standards for adequacy. That means the process now moves forward to the final stages of gaining the necessary state and federal operational permits.
This is great news and long overdue. Completion of the EIS moves the project forward toward gaining the many hundreds of permanent new jobs created by the advent of copper and nickel mining in Minnesota. The stage is finally set for the mining industry to put ready-and-willing workers back to work in a region that really needs a lift.
Closer to home, this week the state issued 43 leases to three companies that submitted bids at the DNR’s Nov. 16, 2015 nonferrous metallic minerals lease sale. Three of the leases went to Kennecott Exploration Company and covered 1,440 acres in Aitkin County. Exploratory drilling continues in the Tamarack area into what is believed to be a significant copper and nickel deposit.
I joined area legislators at the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce's annual "Eggs and Issues" breakfast forum on Thursday morning. We covered a wide range of businesses -elated issues that will be worked on in the upcoming legislative session. It was an excellent opportunity get direct input from the area business community.
The vote on whether to unionize child care providers in Minnesota was released. Child Care providers overwhelmingly rejected unionization. The tally was 1,014 "no" votes and 392 in support. The entire process was not without controversy. There are actually about 10,000 child care providers in our state. However, during the election ,only about 25 percent – those receiving state assistance for children in their care – were allowed to vote.
We start the 2016 session on Tuesday, so most of my time will be spent in St. Paul until we adjourn in late May. The best way to contact me while I'm at the Capitol is by email at email@example.com. Also, please participate in my legislative survey at this link if you haven't done so already.