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Cuts in business red tape, taxes could bring steel jobs back to Iron Range

It's been a tough year for the Iron Range, but hope could be on the horizon for steel workers.
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There could be some respite on the horizon for furloughed workers in the Iron Range.

On Wednesday, the CEO of U.S. Steel said more favorable conditions for business and the renegotiation of trade deals under the pending Donald Trump presidency could see it bring back online some of the plants it has idled.

"I'd be more than happy to bring back the employees we've been forced to lay off during that depressive period," Mario Longhi told CNBC.

He said the total number of jobs that could be brought back could hit 10,000, though U.S. Steel later clarified that he was referring to the steel industry overall, not just U.S. Steel.

It could nonetheless spell good news for the 400 U.S. Steel workers at the company's Keetac taconite mine and processing plant in Keewatin, who have been furloughed for more than a year after a downturn in steel production, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Among the possible Trump policies that could benefit the steel industry, Longhi said, includes simplification of tax codes and a reduction in corporate tax to 15 percent from 35 percent could drive growth.

"We already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvements to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we're going to do."

He also went on to say in recent years his company has been spending more on lawyers to interpret environmental regulations than on engineers, and while he believes in "smart" regulation, he thinks some rules are overly onerous.

In its statement, U.S. Steel blamed the lay offs affecting 16,000 in the past two years on "steel products illegally dumped on U.S. shores." The import of state-subsidized steel from other countries, such as China, was listed as a reason for job losses/furloughs in the Iron Range, as reported by MPR.

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