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I do not support the proposed DFL pro-mining resolution – Update

by Dan Burns on May 29, 2014 · 8 comments

is-polymet-a-good-deal-300x300Which reads like this:

Support the creation of jobs through responsible mining in Minnesota. All kinds of mining are different and require specific safeguards. Each kind of mining must meet strong environmental standards including state and federal environmental agency approval, high safety and labor standards for miners, and use of new and proven technology to prevent environmental damage.

And which I got here, via the party website.

Two specific phrases raise red flags big enough to be visible from the length and breadth of the whole Iron Range:
– “labor standards:” Based on the record of the mine’s real owners, Glencore Xstrata, and that of the industry overall, the “labor standards” will include mediocre-at-best compensation for uncertain jobs. Uncertain because the operation will be shut down, and everybody laid off, whenever world prices for the mine’s outputs drop below certain levels. There is no “Range Renaissance” to be had here, people!
– “new and proven technology to prevent environmental damage:” There is no such technology, at least none that can be used on a real-world, industrial scale, while the operation is at all profitable. And you have to be awfully naïve to think that Glencore Xstrata would have anything to do with a plan that they don’t intend to be mega-profitable, no matter what it takes. Over and over again spokespeople have been asked to provide an example of so much as one (1) of their mines that hasn’t caused substantial long-term environmental damage. Over and over again, nada.
I don’t get how putting this on the platform can be regarded as a smart move. DFL elected officials in mining country, and elsewhere, have made their pro-mining positions very clear. I may not like it, at all, but I recognize the political realities, and will certainly not withhold my vote because of it. But, in addition to all of that, putting wording into the party platform that frankly reads like a calculated affront to the party’s environmentalist faction – and that is a big, electorally very important faction – seems like a big blunder in the making. Why not just drop it?
Update: The resolution was “indefinitely tabled.” There was neither the 60% required to pass it, or to kill it. So, it’s not on the DFL platform.

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