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Daudt asks Trump to reverse copper mining decision

ST. PAUL -- From one Republican to another, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt on Monday sent President Donald Trump a letter asking him to, among other actions, reverse the Obama administration decision revoking mineral leases for the proposed T...

ST. PAUL - From one Republican to another, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt on Monday sent President Donald Trump a letter asking him to, among other actions, reverse the Obama administration decision revoking mineral leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper mine near Ely.

Daudt also asked Trump to take action on health care issues - namely undoing Obamacare -   and to support legislation that would hand control of wolves in the Great Lakes back to states after a court order restored federal Endangered Species Act protections late in 2014.

Bills taking wolves off the endangered species list already have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.

“The Minnesota House Republican Caucus stands ready to work in partnership with your administration to reverse the harmful policies inflicted by the previous administration,” Daudt said in the letter.

Daudt noted that in the final weeks of the Obama administration, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management moved to withdraw more than 230,000 acres of the Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from future leasing, exploration and any mining. That includes the proposed Twin Metals underground copper mine along the Kawishiwi River.

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The federal agencies backed environmental groups that said any movement of tainted water from the mine could harm the waters that flow into the lake-studded federal wilderness.

“This arbitrary decision is blocking the advance of mining projects that could bring thousands of good-paying jobs and revitalize a region with an unemployment rate higher than the state and national average,” Daudt said, also asking the president to block an effort by environmental groups to remove state authority from mining regulation and move it to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We believe very strongly that we can access those natural resources safely,” Daudt said at a news conference Monday. “We know that the economy and jobs are dependent upon us growing the mining industry and the (Iron) Range. We think we’ve got really good, safe opportunities to do that.”

Daudt also told Trump that “rising wolf populations in northern Minnesota have proven devastating for cattle ranchers and other Minnesota animal farmers.”

Forum News Service’s state capital bureau contributed to this story.

Related Topics: MINING
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