Letter: Pay attention to Forest Service

Published 9:00 am Friday, January 27, 2017

The U.S. Forest Service just signed off on transferring 6,650 acres of public lands in the Superior National Forest to PolyMet. That’s where the ore body is located that the company wants to mine — on public land, YOUR land.

Senator Amy Klobuchar has some explaining to do. She sits on a committee that directly oversees Forest Service actions involving land exchanges and was petitioned by over 350 Minnesotans this past summer to push for congressional hearings. But she totally blew us off.

This slice of the Superior National Forest is home to lots of plants, animals, wetlands and streams. Computer modeling shows that contaminated water from the mine will drain both south to Lake Superior and north to the Boundary Waters and that water treatment will be needed indefinitely.

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It seemed reasonable to request hearings. The petition didn’t even ask Senator Klobuchar to vote one way or the other on the issue. All we wanted was for our own senator who sits on a key committee to give us a fair shake.

The stack of petitions was hand delivered to Klobuchar’s office in August. But Amy ignored it — didn’t even send a letter to explain her views. It appears she’s only interested in listening to Minnesotans who are in the “U-Rah-Rah Mining” camp.

But what about the rest of us who are also her constituents? What about Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters? What about all the plants, birds and animals who deserve to live and thrive in their native environment instead of being scraped away?

The Forest Service decision is subject to 30-day Congressional oversight requirements. The clock started ticking Jan. 9, so there’s still time to request hearings. Call Senator Klobuchar at 1-888-224-9043.

Laura Gauger