Local 49 Business Manager Jason George released the following statement regarding today’s move by the Biden administration to withdraw more than 225,000 acres of land in northern Minnesota from mining and geothermal leasing for 20 years:
“The Biden administration’s decision to withdraw more than 225,000 acres from mining and geothermal leasing for the next 20 years is a devastating blow to the Iron Range and our members who live there. We are not surprised, as most Democrats have been hypocrites for decades on the issue of mining. They claim to care about union miners and members like ours who work alongside them, yet they do things like this that hurt them. They claim to care about stopping child labor and workers in other countries laboring in 19th century-level dangerous conditions, yet they do things like this to ensure it continues. They claim to care about domestic security, yet they do things like this that ensure we are completely dependent on hostile nations for minerals that are critical to our security. They claim to be for renewable energy, yet they do things like this that ensure we can’t possibly manufacture or build the systems needed to transition, because the necessary minerals will remain in the ground.
“The anti-mining stance of some Democrats is among the most short-sighted and disgustingly political positions I have seen in my career. There is a small number of wealthy Twin Cities cabin owners opposed to mining on the Iron Range. The people who live where the mines will be want the opportunity for these projects to go through the permitting process. Their voices were deemed irrelevant today by this administration.
“To say we are disappointed is an understatement. I’m sickened by this decision. My heart goes out to the people of the Iron Range. All they have ever asked for is a fair chance for these projects, and an opportunity to do what they have done for the last 100 years. I want them to know Local 49 isn’t going anywhere, and we will not be deterred. We will stay in this fight with you until these projects get a fair shake and these minerals are mined here by union workers.”