I attended some interesting meetings this week. On Monday I participated in a mining round table discussion hosted by Minnesota’s US Congressmen Rick Nolan, & Tom Emmer at Mountain Iron. Special guests were US Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona, Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy & Mineral Resources of the US House Committee on Natural Resources and Sub-committee Vice-Chair Congressman Bruce Westerman of Arkansas.
The discussion group included northeast Minn. state legislators and about 30 local community leaders, mayors, city council members, county commissioners, labor leaders, a U of M Regent member and business community leaders from across the entire Iron Range.
The four congressmen were on a full-day tour looking at the potential economic damage of the US Forest Service’s current plan to stop or at least significantly delay any further mineral exploration or mining operations on over 234,000 acres of federal lands outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northeast Minnesota.
Minnesota has a large amount Permanent State School Trust Land in the vicinity of the planned federal action. The result would severely devalue the revenue producing capacity of state school trust lands which were set aside to specifically to fund Minnesota’s public education system.
During the discussion, as chair of the Legislative Permanent School Trust Commission, I spoke to the negative impact that withdrawal of federal lands will have on the surrounding state school trust land mineral exploration leases. I also hand delivered a detailed letter on the issue to all four Congressman.
Here is a link to a Duluth News Tribune article regarding the event.
This morning, along with other area state legislators, I met with the leadership and members of the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. We discussed this year’s legislative accomplishments and looked at additional issues that will need work in 2018.
On Monday morning oral arguments will be heard in Ramsey County District Court regarding Gov. Mark Dayton’s recent line-item veto stripping the Legislature of its funding. Attorneys representing both sides have filed their briefs to the court, you can the find details at link.
I remain optimistic the court will not allow the governor to shut down the peoples’ voice by defunding the Legislature. I will pass along more info as it develops.
Filling in my spare time dodging rain storms, trying to put up a little hay for my cows!