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Supporters of Copper Nickel Mining Stand Strong

Updated: January 31, 2020 07:28 PM

The debate over copper nickel mining in Minnesota continues to grow. And supporters came together on Friday in Virginia.

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Congressman Pete Stauber hosted the gathering at the Carpenters Union Hall. "We are on the cusp of doing great things. Stay in the fight," he said.

The lawsuits, the hearings, the orders from courts, have been non-stop lately. And the developments are not helpful to the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects.

But that isn't stopping those who believe the future includes this new type of mining. "This is my backyard. And my water. I don't want it to be polluted. It's never been polluted before. Why are they saying it's going to happen now?" questioned Glenn Anderson, a Babbitt city councilor and former mayor.

Friday's gathering was about the legislation introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum, which would ban mining on 234,000 acres of land near the Boundary Waters. This would impact the Twin Metals project, which plans on building an underground mine near Ely and Babbitt.

"This is truly offensive that the efforts of a Minneapolis politician are a threat to our futures here," shared Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupancich.

Stauber pledged he's not going to back down. He'll lead a group who is going to testify Wednesday at a hearing about the legislation. "I'm tired of the Iron Range enduring attacks on our way of life," he said.

Leaders here said they are proud of our water, and the metro should mind their own troubled waters. The mayor of Ely, Chuck Novak, said they should start a Save the Metro waters campaign, after citing closed beaches, wells, and sickness in the Twin Cities area.

State Representative Rob Ecklund spoke, as did St. Louis County Board Chair Mike Jugovich. Steve Giorgi, the executive director of RAMS, explained how mining helps schools statewide, and denying mining can mean denying more opportunities for kids.

Duluth city councilors Arik Forsman and Derek Medved also attended.

Save the Boundary Waters continues to try and stop the Twin Metals project. Other environmental groups have applauded McCollum's bill.

The fight will continue. Meanwhile, Twin Metals said they are working on a 10th anniversary celebration for later this year.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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