Updated:
Original:

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan wants to ban foreign steel for 5 years to help ailing Iron Range

Author:

Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan has proposed a fairly drastic plan to help the struggling U.S. steel industry – he wants to ban the import of foreign steel for five years.

Nolan, a Democrat, represents Minnesota's 8th District which includes the Iron Range. The mining companies on the Range have been going through tough economic times as the price of steel has fallen.

The Duluth News Tribune notes that seven of Minnesota's 11 major mining operations have closed or are about to close, meaning more than 1,500 workers have been laid off in the past several months.

In a news release Monday, Nolan laid the blame for the steel industry's problems on a glut of foreign steel in the U.S. caused by the "dumping of millions of tons of low-grade, foreign government-subsidized steel" by China, India and other southeast Asian countries.

Nolan said steel imports increased by 36 percent last year, while American steel mills are only running at 70 percent of capacity.

He argues that a five-year ban on imported steel would give U.S. companies time to regain market share and get back to operating at 100 percent capacity.

Nolan also blames the federal government for not being tough enough to stop the flood of foreign steel entering the U.S.

“The United States has proven itself incapable of enforcing trade agreements, and incapable of stopping illegal dumping of foreign steel once it reaches our shores. So we need a moratorium on foreign steel," he said.

The steel industry got a victory earlier this year when the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that several countries were illegally dumping steel in the U.S. market, and those actions were harming American steel companies, according to the News Tribune.

Minnesota's U.S. senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, introduced a bill last week that would give the federal government the authority to act more quickly to enforce trade laws. Nolan said he will introduce a companion measure in the House.

Debate over special session

On the state level, Gov. Dayton is calling for a special legislative session to extend unemployment benefits to roughly 600 steelworkers who would otherwise see their benefits run out. The Legislature's next regular session doesn't begin until March. 

Fellow DFLer and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, who represents part of the Iron Range, agrees.

But Republican legislative leaders have said they won't go along with a special session unless Dayton also agrees to provisions that could speed up the approval process for a copper mine PolyMet hopes to develop on the Iron Range, as well as the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline that would run across northern Minnesota. 

At a news conference Monday, Dayton called the Republican leaders' demands "disappointing," the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Dayton said House Speaker Kurt Daudt and others showed a "lack of sensitivity" to the Iron Range workers who are facing the loss of their unemployment benefits.

In a statement, Daudt said any discussion about unemployment on the Iron Range "must include a conversation about job-creating projects like mining and pipelines," according to the Pioneer Press.

Next Up

Maple Grove Police Department

Maple Grove-based businessman convicted of fatally shooting wife

Wiseman owns properties in both Minnesota, Nevada and China.

betty and earls biscuits facebook

Jason Matheson's biscuit shop to briefly close ahead of relaunch

Betty & Earl's will shut down for two weeks before reopening under a new name.

Simon Merino Go Fund Me

Worker dies in forklift accident at paper recycling business

The victim was described as a loving father of two who was devoted to his church.

rosie means - go fund me

Authorities ID woman killed by hit-and-run driver who ran red light

A fundraiser was created to support the family after the "sudden and senseless loss."

Prior Lake Football

Watch: Prior Lake stuns Rosemount with last-second hook and ladder

The Lakers dusted off an old favorite to get a victory on Thursday night.

unsplas - maple leaf frost fall lawn

MN gets its first frost advisories, freeze warnings of the season

The coldest spots could dip to below 30 degrees overnight.

Fleck

Ahead of Big Ten clash, Huskers fans spend their Friday mocking PJ Fleck

Huskers fans are in a playful mood ahead of Saturday's game.

Jamal Smith

New 1st-degree murder charge for man accused in youth coach's killing

A grand jury indicted the suspect in connection with the shooting of Jay Boughton.

trick or treating halloween

COVID: Mayo Clinic's tips for staying safe while trick-or-treating

A layered approach, especially for those who aren't vaccinated, is recommended.

Walz

'My patience level is gone': Walz calls on lawmakers to help hospital strain

The governor said only legislators can enact some of the needed measures.

landscape-g555db6b6e_1280

Jeep driver dies after hitting two deer, rolling into oncoming vehicle

As the SUV rolled, it struck another vehicle approaching the other direction.

carver county dog

Family's dog 'senselessly' killed with arrow in Carver County

The beloved dog was shot with an arrow on Tuesday.

Related