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Welcome to Iron County, Minnesota
An idea proposed 20 years ago may make more sense today: To break off the northern half of St. Louis County to create Iron County.
The division on the St. Louis County board was clearly visible this past week when the Duluth commissioners helped shoot down Tom Rukavina’s resolution opposing the federal government’s attempt to stop mining here.
Setting aside the politics and focusing on the financial impact, the potential of the county (not to mention Duluth as well) losing millions of dollars in mining royalties should have EVERY county commissioner beyond concerned.
Let’s take a look at the resolution without all the whereas parts:
Be It Resolved, That the St. Louis County Board requests the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to immediately reconsider, reverse and remove the unnecessary proposal to withdraw 240,000 acres of land from future leasing, exploration and potential development; resolved further, that a copy of this resolution be sent to Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken and Congressman Nolan.
A key word: unneccesary. The reason? There are plenty of layers of environmental review in place for any proposed mining project. Multiple agencies at each level of government get to review, approve or deny every proposal.
To not give a company the chance to even get to this level seems very un-American to us. It’s kind of like telling someone they can’t buy a car because they might get into an accident with it. Let’s remember when this proposal came out, in the waning days of President Obama’s term. A last second political salvo without the science to back it up.
Yet here were the three Duluth commissioners ignoring the financial impact to the county residents they purport to represent and by the votes they made, believing that politics overrules science.
If that’s what we can expect from Duluth, then we like Tommy’s proposal to break off from St. Louis County. He was able to get a bill passed in the House 20 years ago to do just that. If we look back even further, Cook County broke off from Lake County and Koochiching from Itasca.
If the commissioners of a county are going to make decisions detrimental to that county’s future, the logical step is to distance ourselves from them as soon as possible.
Iron County, Minnesota sounds just fine to us. Let’s pass a bill and let the people vote on it.