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Republicans Push Back on Democrats’ Land Grab

February 5, 2020

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans opposed H.R. 5598, the “Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act,” in a Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources legislative hearing. U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), representing districts impacted by the bill, were permitted to voice their concerns by unanimous consent.

Introduced by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), the bill prohibits mineral development on federal land within Minnesota. Hardrock minerals have become necessary to modern life, forming essential components of high-tech equipment including smartphones, electric vehicles, defense systems, medical devices, wind, and solar technologies. H.R. 5598 would jeopardize thousands of potential jobs regionally and local stakeholders including labor unions, builders, miners, and schools, and elected officials have stated their strong opposition to the bill.

 “Once again a Member in the Majority is legislating in another Member’s district, continuing a troubling trend we’ve seen throughout this Congress. This reckless bill threatens American mineral security as well as the economy of Northern Minnesota. Making matters worse, this legislation would continue the United States dependence on imported minerals from countries like Mexico, China and the Congo, where child labor and environmental degradation are commonplace. Minerals are key components to modern life, including the very renewable energy many of my Democrat colleagues seek to embrace. Rather than rely on hostile foreign nations, we should mine these minerals in the United States under proper environmental and safety regulations and employing American workers.” – U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), the subcommittee’s ranking member.

 “I’ve been on a bipartisan delegation to northern Minnesota, and we looked at this on the ground. We can take pride in knowing we have places like Superior National Forest, and we can take pride in the vast mineral resources there that are needed for the things we use today, like renewable energy, iPhones and computers. But I have to ask the question: what are we scared of? No mining has taken place, and NEPA is already a big hurdle that any projects have to go through before beginning. Are we scared of letting that science play out? If we just want to come in here and say Superior Forest is off limits, how many other places around the country fall under this category? It’s ridiculous that we can’t go through the process and allow environmental analysis to give us the facts.” U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

 “In northern Minnesota, mining is our past, our present, and our future. That’s why it is incredibly unfortunate that politicians from the Twin Cities metro area continue to attempt to kill these precious mining opportunities before they even get the chance to undergo a thorough permitting process. I am incredibly thankful for the chance to bring the perspective of northeast Minnesota to the House Natural Resources Committee and publicly highlight the devastating impact that Congresswoman McCollum’s legislation would have on our livelihoods, local economy, and public schools. If there is just one message to take away from this hearing, it is that Minnesotans deserve good paying jobs too and I will never stop fighting for our way of life.” – U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.)

 “Today is an effort to permanently withdraw hundreds of thousands of acres in Northern Minnesota and place an arbitrary, permanent ban on the way of life for generations of Minnesotans. The bill, at its core, places a deep level of distrust in Minnesota and its people. It appears to distrust Minnesotans to protect the environmental review process that has produced 130 years of clean air, water, and land in the area. Minnesotans are better than that. We can both protect our environment while providing a better life for the next generation. I attended today’s hearing to speak on behalf of the hard working, outdoor-loving Minnesotans who set the standard for environmental responsibility. It’s time their voices are heard.” – U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.)

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