Call to action from the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

Rich Staffon, President  W. J. McCabe Chapter, IWLA:

Below is a call to action from the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. This concerns thanking the Governor for vetoing the bad Environment Budget bill, and asking him to stand strong against a proposal included in the bill that would restrict the right to holding contested case hearings for mining projects like PolyMet. If this proposal passes only affected property owners next to a mine project could request a contested case hearing. This ignores the fact that mine projects would likely impact people and natural resources located far from the mine site. Any Minnesotan should have the right to request a hearing. Please call the Governor (800-657-3717) and your state legislators and let them know your concerns and your support for their work to protect the environment. This is urgent as the revision of this bill is ongoing right now.

Last Friday, Governor Dayton vetoed a terrible environment and natural resources budget bill that not only cut environmental agencies, but included over 100 pages of policy that favored polluters. His veto letter was unequivocal – the bill contains “unwarranted policy provisions that would thwart the progress we’ve made together.”

Governor Dayton deserves thanks for vetoing this bill, but negotiations are restarting today. Unless Governor Dayton hears from you, the public’s right to a full, fair, and fact-based hearing on mine permits could be lost. 

Since 1969, citizens affected by a mining proposal have had the right to ask for a hearing in front of a judge, called a “contested case hearing,” if they can show a dispute over the facts in a mine permit application. Last fall, Duluth citizens asked their city council to request a full, fair, and fact-based hearing in front of a judge before any permitting decision on PolyMet was made.We polled Duluth residents who live downstream of the PolyMet proposal, and 70% of them said that they wanted a full, fair, and fact-based hearing before any final decision was made. After a long debate, the Duluth City Council didn’t vote to request a hearing, with several councilors saying the “time wasn’t right,” since no draft permit had yet been issued.

Unless Governor Dayton stands strong, they may never get the chance.

Please call Governor Dayton and tell him “Thank you for vetoing the Environment Budget bill. As you negotiate, please protect the right of downstream cities and citizens to ask for a contested case hearing on mining proposals.”

His number is 800-657-3717They’re making decisions right now, so please call right away.

Sincerely,

Tonia Kittelson

Northern Communities Director

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is celebrating its 40th year of protecting, preserving and restoring the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem.