Gov. Tim Walz: In the past two weeks, with the PolyMet permitting process being reviewed in the courts, you have been given the opportunity to hit the “reset” button on copper-nickel mining in northeastern Minnesota. You should do that. (“Hearing probes PolyMet permit,” front page, Jan. 21.)
Take two steps back and survey the scene. Mining a low-grade ore for an estimated 20 years will endanger the world’s largest fresh water lake — at a time when fresh water will be a highly valued, scarce commodity. Why would anyone want that?
Reset the permitting process so that the public is fully satisfied that it is being heard. Reset the permits so that we have assurance that pollutants like mercury and sulfates do not contaminate our streams and rivers, kill off sensitive wild rice beds, result in methyl-mercury poisoning, and pollute the St. Louis estuary that so recently has been cleaned up.
Reset the relationship between the state of Minnesota and the Fond du Lac Band, so that it is not once again the victim of environmental racism.
Reset our values, so that we place a higher regard for the long-term wealth of clean water than for short-term corporate profits.
Please do not use our taxes to pay for lawyers to appeal the court decision. That would be a misuse of the public trust. We expect our taxes to benefit all Minnesotans, the greatest good for the greatest number — not to further mining interests of internationally owned companies.
Walz, your integrity is being tested. Please do not disappoint us.
Sue Leaf, Center City, Minn.
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It seems that the same people who are always standing in the way of opening copper mines are the very same people who want wind energy and electric cars. You need copper windings in the wind generator and electric motor, to the environmentalist’s chagrin, hemp will not work for the intended use; it’s a poor conductor.
If recycled copper was plentiful enough, it would be used, and certainly nobody would open a new mine if there was enough recycled copper to be had, as it would not be financially viable. I am not sure if the people who support alternate power sources are against mining or if they just don’t want a mine in their vicinity. Do they only support mining in somebody else’s favorite place to live, or do they not understand that metals are needed for their ultimate wants?
Brent Woodward, Mound
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The front-page report on the challenge to the PolyMet permitting process raises at least three questions:
1. What legitimate reason would then-Minnesota Pollution Control Agency head John Linc Stine have for not wanting the clarity of seeing the Environmental Protection Agency’s comments on the draft permit in writing?
2. Why does the MPCA see its role as being to “negotiate” with the EPA? The federal Clean Water Act was designed to enable states and the EPA to work together to enforce discharge standards, not for states to negotiate for weaker standards.
3. Why are our state tax dollars being used to pay MPCA lawyers to defend a questionable permit benefiting a foreign company?
Allan Campbell, Minneapolis
Maybe you do know some, after all
To the trauma therapist in “At a seminar on triggering, I was triggered by a MAGA hat” (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 21): Maybe you do know Trump supporters, but they don’t have bumper stickers because they don’t want their car to be keyed. Or they don’t wear MAGA hats because they don’t want you glaring at them or worse — someone assaulting them. Maybe they like seeing black and female unemployment at the lowest levels ever or in years, respectively, because of Trump administration tax and regulation cuts. And they like seeing the value of their IRAs substantially increase. And they like increased security at the southern border. They like having energy independence — not depending on countries that chant “death to America” and use some of the profits to accomplish that goal. Maybe most of all, they appreciate having a president who actually works at keeping his campaign promises.
Try watching something besides CNN and hear the other side of the story.
Chris Schonning, Andover
A primary is not a general election
I’ve read with interest the past few weeks the citizens “complaining” about the upcoming presidential primaries in Minnesota (“We pay $12 million; the parties take our data. Sound fair?” Readers Write, Jan. 20). I certainly empathize with Republicans who have been shut out of their voice because leadership decided to only put one name on the ballot. Sometimes party leaders do not know what is best. But as a lifelong Democrat, I am surprised by the anger regarding their primary. I’ve taught political science for many years. And I’m sure most if not all citizens took a government class in high school, where they learned there is a difference between a general and primary election. If you don’t remember, Google it.
Yes — you have the right to vote. Your secret ballot for general elections (and your privacy) is necessary. But in a primary, you are voting to winnow the number of candidates. When you choose to be a Democrat or Republican to vote in a primary, you are committing to that party. That’s the process. Therefore, don’t complain that your information is public. You are choosing to cast a vote as a member of your chosen party. Get over it.
DAN GARDNER, Belle Plaine
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Who gets to decide? Should a Democrat have an equal voice in choosing the Republican candidate? Should a Republican have an equal voice in choosing the Democratic candidate? To vote in this year’s primary, Minnesotans will have to first choose a party ballot. Some people object to that as a violation of privacy. But entangled in that privacy issue is the question, “Who gets to decide?” In the name of privacy, should a member of the opposing party be granted an equal voice in selecting a party’s candidate?
Dale Sommers, Northfield, Minn.
Restore the falls to what year?
Thanks to William Boudreau for his interest in many water issues in Minneapolis, but I think his alternate proposal (“Let’s raise St. Anthony Falls before we bury it,” Opinion Exchange, Jan. 21) to the one of Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat is not well-considered. As usual, the devil is in the details.
Boudreau suggests that the falls be restored to a former glory but also points out that the once-majestic falls began 12,000 years ago miles to the south, and in the 19th century when they were capped, were eroding upstream at the geologically rapid pace of two feet a year. As they moved, the falls also lost height while evolving into rapids. What point in that migration would he propose to recreate? Would the restored falls be the same fragile sandstone capped by limestone that, when released, would continue to erode, or maybe a concrete replica of what existed in 1800? That also seems phony. The Mill City Museum and the ongoing Mill Ruins archaeology would not fit historically or physically adjacent to a replica of the pre-milling era falls.
D.C. Smith, Minneapolis
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