RESOLUTION NUMBER 05-17
WHEREAS, two federal agencies, the Department of Interior (DOI) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), have initiated misguided actions to withdraw nearly 240,000 acres of federal lands and minerals from future exploration and potential development, and
WHEREAS, this politically motivated decision will cause devastating and irreversible damage to the citizens, communities and economy of the region, and
WHEREAS, a thorough and comprehensive environmental review process is already established under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and
WHEREAS, the responsibility of the federal agencies is to accept proposed mineral development projects and subject them to the science based review established under NEPA, and
WHEREAS, independent economic analysis by University of MN - Duluth estimates more than 12,000 construction jobs and 5,000 long-term mining jobs would be created if projects currently under various stages of development in the region advanced to operation, and
WHEREAS, the estimated four billion ton deposit of copper, nickel, and other precious metals in the Duluth Complex stand to potentially generate close to $3 billion in royalty revenue for the state's Permanent School Trust Fund, and
WHEREAS, this revenue would support the education of nearly 900,000 K-12 students statewide, and
WHEREAS, there are 95,000 acres of School Trust Lands within the boundaries of the proposed federal withdrawal, and
WHEREAS, as a result, a significant amount of this enormous economic opportunities and education responsibilities would be lost under the anti-mining withdrawal proposal by the agencies, and
WHEREAS, similar withdrawal proposals from anti-mining groups have been strongly opposed by US Senator Amy Klobuchar, US Senator Al Franken, Congressman Rick Nolan, the entire Minnesota Range Legislative Delegation, over 50 additional Minnesota state legislators, and the vast majority of local elected officials throughout the region, and
WHEREAS, a recent public opinion poll shows two-thirds of citizens in the region oppose withdrawal of federal minerals from future development, and
WHEREAS, the proposed withdrawal would provide no environmental benefits or protections that do not already exist under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related state and federal environmental quality laws, standards and regulations.
WHEREAS, the unproven concerns raised by the BLM and USFS are based on hypothetical and unfounded fears of generalized impacts from mining,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF MOUNTAIN IRON, MINNESOTA, that the Trump administration to immediately rescind the BLM-USFS proposal to withdraw 240,000 acres of land in NE Minnesota from future leasing, exploration and potential development and withdraw the BLM's Federal Register notice announcing the proposal, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken join Congressman Nolan and publicly state both their opposition to the withdrawal and formally request immediate reversal by the Trump administration, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the federal agencies return to their responsibility of accepting mineral development projects, review them under the existing NEPA and the scientific, multi-agency requirements of an Environmental EIS process, and restore opportunity for economic development and investment in Minnesota while providing an avenue for America to gain domestic independence from foreign mineral sources that are invaluable to our everyday basic needs, and more importantly to our national security and safety of our country.
DULY ADOPTED BY THE CITY COUNCIL THIS 6th DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2017.
Mayor Gary Skalko