Timber, Tourism and Taconite: Three common “T’s” which support Northern Minnesota. However, in recent years, the government has been overreaching and hindering the ability of these industries to flourish.
St. Louis County extends from the Twin Ports to the Canadian border. As a County Commissioner, I have seen how fortunate we are to have all three of these industries in our own backyard, and the positive impact they have on our economy, our schools and our families. We are blessed with an abundance of God-given natural resources, from our ports in Lake Superior, to our plentiful forests, to our rich veins of iron-ore, copper-nickel, taconite and more.
A topic of critical importance here in Northeast Minnesota is mining. For many small towns on the Iron Range, mining is seen as something that can revamp industry and help those small towns flourish. Our county board travels to cities throughout St. Louis County and we constantly see variations of “We Support Mining” signs lining Main Street, in the windows of businesses and even in front of Chamber of Commerce buildings.
Mining supports our economy, the economy supports good paying jobs and good jobs support our Minnesota families.
This issue is garnering national attention and the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, decided to come to Duluth for a round table discussion about this very issue. I was honored to be one of the participants at the round table discussion along with other St. Louis County Commissioners, mayors and representatives from businesses and organizations in our county.
We discussed several things, but we always returned to the matter of what we can do on the county, state and federal levels to bring jobs back to St. Louis County. On the federal level, it was the steel tariffs that were very popular amongst steelworkers. On the state level, it was allowing our miners to get back to mining. On the county level, it was one of things I am most proud of during my tenure on the board - which is establishing an “American steel” policy. This policy ensures that all projects, whether they involve building roads, bridges or buildings, must utilize American-made steel.
We have been mining in Minnesota for over 130 years and we know we can mine safely. We have some of the strictest environmental regulations in place because we love and want to protect this beautiful place we call home. I am confident that I speak for many St. Louis County residents when I say: this is our backyard, this is where we want to see our children and grandchildren grow up, this is home and we will do everything we need to do to protect it.
So, from one St. Louis County Commissioner, I say, let’s get these mines going!