DFL group admonishes Nolan for support of bill to streamline mining permits


U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan is the target of criticism from a group of fellow Democrats in northern Minnesota.

In a strongly worded resolution, members of the Lake County DFL approved opposition to Nolan's support of the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act.

The Lake County News-Chronicle reports that Nolan was one of 15 Democrats who voted in favor of the legislation. Along with 231 Republicans supporting it, the bill cleared the U.S. House.

Proponents of the bill say it will help streamline the permitting process for mining projects. Opponents say the bill jeopardizes the environment in favor of mining companies.

The resolution called the bill "a blatant industry attempt to remove environmental review and environmental protection from proposals to introduce copper nickel mining in Northeastern Minnesota."

According to the report, the group is especially concerned about the the impact of the Polymet project that is proposed for Hoyt Lakes. They believe the project cold affect the waters in the county.

In a column that appeared on website of the Mesabi Daily News, Nolan said that mining is about jobs. He said it is a big job that drives thousands of other jobs. He writes, "No one appreciates the great outdoors more than us Rangers. It's a big part of the reason we live here, and we will never do anything to jeopardize our environment."

Although the bill passed in the House in September, it is not expected to get through the U.S. Senate.

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