This week, Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) participated in a House Natural Resources Committee hearing to voice his strong opposition to H.R. 5598, a bill authored by Congresswoman Betty McCollum, that would kill high-wage mining jobs in northern Minnesota.
Congressman Stauber began his remarks by quoting a letter that former Congressman Jim Oberstar wrote to President Carter in 1978, stating, “I urge you not to trade off lifestyles, livelihoods, and legitimate desires of the people of northeastern Minnesota for equitable treatment in favor of the vague and ill-defined interests of other, perhaps more clamorous constituencies far removed from the BWCA.”
Stauber followed, stating, “Therefore, I am disappointed that members of my delegation introduced a bill that directly affects the livelihood of my constituents without providing me or my office any consultation whatsoever. The communities on the Iron Range are in desperate need of economic revitalization. There needs to be quality jobs available for folks to stick around after high school.”
Stauber added, “The Twin Metals project has already signed a Project Labor Agreement with the Iron Range Building Trades, promising high-wage, labor-protected jobs. Your bill would nullify this PLA, making it clear you believe my constituents are not worthy of high-wage, labor protected jobs.”
Stauber quoted an email that another Minnesota politician, Senator Amy Klobuchar, wrote to President Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture, stating, “It should have been handled through the normal process. It wasn’t…I’m not for or against this project, but I just wanted a fair process based on science that told us the truth.”
Stauber concluded, stating, “So, Representative McCollum, we have former-Congressman Oberstar, Governor Walz’s Department of Natural Resources, and Senator Klobuchar all agreeing that we need mining and a fair process for permitting. By introducing this legislation, are you making the implication that they are uniformed? Are you making the implication that they don’t care about the environment?