National Mining Conference Coming to Our Back Yard

Thousands of mining professionals and students from around the world will be convening in Minneapolis this week for the National Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) Conference.

The conference taking place from February 25 to 28, largely at the Minneapolis Convention Center, features an exhibit hall with more than 700 booths, more than 100 technical sessions, a symposium on North American iron ore and many other events. This is the first time this conference is being held in Minneapolis – what a great opportunity  to have right in our back yard.

Attendees come from a range of backgrounds including: metal mining, manufacturing, geology, environmental, construction, and more. All told, 49 U.S. states and 35 countries will be represented at the conference.

The conference theme, “Vision, Innovation and Identity: Step Change for a Sustainable Future,” will address the continuing need for innovation throughout the industry.

The theme and location provide a unique opportunity to showcase the past, present, and future of Minnesota’s 130+ year iron mining industry, as well as the potential for different types of mining – including, of course, copper nickel mining. Representatives from iron mining and copper nickel mining will be staffing booths, teaching technical sessions, and hosting events.

Some key Minnesota-backed events include:

  • Northern Minnesota SME Curling Reception
  • Northern Minnesota Field Trip – including tours and/or presentations of Hibbing Taconite, PolyMet, Minnesota Discovery Center, Duluth Port Authority and more
  • Move Mining Event: Move Mining is a program that stems from the idea to change or “move” the perception of mining in the public eye by encouraging individuals and teams to use their innovation and ideas, with the support of our sponsoring organizations, to share their positive messaging about mining with the world
  • Mining and Exploration Luncheon, sponsored by the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota (IMA)
  • Friends of Minnesota Reception, sponsored by Mining Minnesota, IMA, and SME’s Minnesota Chapter

Those who work in Minnesota’s mining industries have a wealth of knowledge to share on operating in a sustainable way. Minnesota has some of the strongest environmental regulations in the nation – maybe the world. Former Minnesota iron mines are now used as sources of drinking water for Iron Range cities as well as swimming and fishing lakes, and other recreation sites.

There is always more to learn, so Minnesota participants are looking forward to technical sessions, short courses, and field trips focused on environment, health and safety, energy, mineral processing, finance, and more.

To learn more about the upcoming national conference, visit http://www.smeannualconference.com or Move Mining visit http://www.movemining.org/ .

Financial Responsibility Requirements

On December 1, 2017, the EPA Administrator signed the final rule for Financial Responsibility Requirements under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) 108(B) for Classes of Facilities in the Hardrock Mining Industry. In effect, this final rule said that there was no need for financial assurance requirements to be placed on hard rock mining companies by the federal government. The next day, most mainstream news coverage positioned the story in a way that would lead readers to believe that mining companies were not being held financially responsible for their operations or the clean-up in the event that they went bankrupt.

Fortunately, that is not the case and a deeper read into the final rule illustrates that the EPA acted judiciously in their decision and are not placing taxpayers at risk. Unfortunately, that is not the story that was shared with the general public so we’d like to share our assessment of the rule with you.

As you may have noted, this final rule came out over a month ago, so why is Better In Our Back Yard just now posting our thoughts? The main reason is that we know it takes time to review information and process it and we want to give our readers carefully thought-out responses. The final rule, in pre-published form, is 120 pages and that doesn’t even include the Technical Support. Too often in our media-driven, fast news world, we live on headlines and sound bites and we trust what we read without doing any of our own research. We owe it to you to be more nuanced and studious in our approach because we know that in finding the balance between environmental protection and economic development, a sound bite isn’t enough.

So why didn’t the EPA mandate financial assurance requirements for hard rock mining as was initially proposed? There were several drivers for that decision, so let’s take a look at a few critical ones.

Purpose of CERCLA 108(b)

The intended purpose of CERCLA regulations, also known as Superfund, is to protect taxpayers from having to clean up environmental impacts from a wide variety of industries. The rule was enacted after the public was left in a position cleaning up sites such as Love Canal. CERCLA regulations require facilities to “establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility consistent with the degree and duration of risk associated with the production, transportation, treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous substances.” This statement of purpose is reiterated multiple times throughout the final rule because it is the level of risk that is critical to the conclusion reached by the EPA.

The EPA states that after review of existing federal and state regulatory programs as well as the mining practices at modern mines that that there is limited risk of unfunded response liabilities at currently operating facilities.

Regulatory Redundancy

The reason that there is limited risk of unfunded response liabilities is because state governments as well as federal agencies that regulate mining, including the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, have set up their own systems to regulate mining operations and ensure financial assurance requirements are met within their jurisdictions. Several states and the listed federal agencies were not in support of this regulation because it muddied the waters on the enforcement of their respective programs. The states with mining operations within them have spent decades fine-tuning their programs to reflect their distinct situations regarding type of mineral extraction and environmental settings. They are uniquely qualified to understand the risks and mitigation strategies. The EPA recognized that additional federal regulations would disrupt these state programs (as well as the other federal programs) and cause unnecessary duplication that would not provide taxpayers with any additional protection.

Lack of Financial Instruments

The financial industry that would provide the required financial instruments and services was not in support of the regulations because, as proposed, they would be at odds with relevant commercial law and practice.

So where does this leave financial assurance in Minnesota? It leaves it with the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that knows our backyard, that cares about our backyard and that will ensure our taxpayers are not put in a position of being responsible for environmental mitigation in our backyard.

Current Climate

Look no further than the proposed PolyMet financial assurance estimate, which could top $1 billion, that recently came from the state to know that mining companies are already held to strong standards that ensure taxpayer risk is factored into the equation. Because we can do it better, in our back yard.

Better in Our Back Yard Statement on Release of Draft Permit to Mine

Better In Our Back Yard released the following statement today in response to the DNR’s release of PolyMet’s draft Permit to Mine.

The release of PolyMet’s draft Permit to Mine, along with the DNR’s draft decision to allow construction and operations, is promising news for the future of northeastern Minnesota’s people and economy. The PolyMet project will provide hundreds of family-supporting jobs and usher in a new era of mining, economic growth and hope for our region.

We’re thrilled the science says this project can be done safely. We trust the modern mining practices and technologies that will be used, coupled with oversight from trusted regulatory agencies like the DNR, will ensure our treasured clean water, air and environment will remain protected for generations to come.

PolyMet has been working through the regulatory process long enough for a generation of Minnesota kids to graduate from high school and college, get married, start careers and have kids of our own. Now, with the release of the draft Permit to Mine and the DNR’s draft decision, we’re closer than ever to finally realizing a brighter future with copper/nickel mining on the Iron Range.

The young leaders of Better In Our Back Yard look forward to participating in the upcoming public comment process and advocating in support of PolyMet’s draft Permit to Mine. We believe that Minnesota stands poised to become a world leader in the responsible development of these metals so critical to our daily lives and technologies like clean energy and electric cars. Because we can do it here – better in our back yard.

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About Better In Our Back Yard

 

Better In Our Back Yard is a coalition of dedicated young and emerging leaders in industrial development who understand responsible industry drives our primary economy.

Lives and livelihoods depend on industries like manufacturing and mining and we understand the importance of this to our region. We recognize that in a globalized economy, our resources are often sourced from parts of the world that lack environmental and labor regulations.

We believe it is our responsibility to lead the world in natural resource development using our robust regulatory framework, along with talented scientists, engineers and manufacturers.

 

Media Contact: Arik Forsman

Email: arikforsman@gmail.com

Cell: 218.290.5496

A Look Back at 2017

As we round out the past few weeks full of positive momentum for the mining industry, we want to express our sincerest thanks to all of you who have written letters, sent an email or tweet, made a call, or otherwise voiced your support for industry in our region. We are grateful to have your support. It truly makes a difference with our efforts to create jobs and protect our way of life in this great state.

Since launching Better In Our Back Yard this year, we’ve developed a two-pronged digital strategy to reach audiences in northern Minnesota. First, we launched www.BetterInOurBackYard.com to showcase regional thought leadership surrounding important topics in industrial development. With each post, we’ve garnered more interest and support for our cause. We have released and submitted statements regarding Enbridge Line 3 and the Wild Rice Sulfate hearings, both critical issues that have sparked much discussion in our region. Second, we developed a strong social media strategy leveraging Facebook and LinkedIn to further share our web content, important events, and other industry-related articles or information. Together, our strategies are making an impact.

We are very pleased with the progress we’ve made in the past year and we look forward to educating the region on the importance of responsible industrial development in our state’s economy. Thank you again for supporting Better In Our Back Yard.

Wild Rice Sulfate Standard Statement

Better In Our Back Yard writes today to express our concerns regarding the new wild rice sulfate standard proposed by MPCA. We care about wild rice and believe it’s important to protect the state grain, but we do not think either the current or proposed standard is necessary for many reasons:

 

Increasing Uncertainty

The MPCA recently admitted the current sulfate standard isn’t necessary to protect wild rice in many water bodies throughout Minnesota. Their attempt to create a new standard based on sulfide also raises significant concerns.

 

It is unclear whether wild rice will be more abundant after the standard changes. At a meeting earlier this year, an MPCA official was asked if the proposed standard would result in more abundant rice. Their answer stated that based on the research, there may be no benefit to the wild rice species. Why are we pursuing this new rule if the research shows that there could be no benefit at all?

 

The equation used to set proposed standard predicts the incorrect outcome up to one out of five times. This level of uncertainty is unacceptable. It doesn’t make sense to invest time and money in establishing a water quality standard that is not proven to protect wild rice.

 

Costly Investment

Research has also shown that there is only one water treatment solution to comply with either the sulfate or sulfide standard – reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis water treatment facilities and equipment require a very high investment to install and operate – estimates from industry show it will cost billions of dollars. Compliance with the proposed standard would be costly and could result in the closure of some Minnesota iron mines due to the proposed investment to it. How would those closures affect our communities?

 

There is also a large investment to local communities, households and businesses in our region to comply with the standard. Other communities have proven that installing reverse osmosis systems increase water bills for individual citizens by a large margin. Can the region withstand even more utility bill increases?

 

Minnesota legislators had the same questions, which is why in the 2017 Session they passed legislation extending the MPCA’s timeline to complete an economic impact analysis before publishing the proposed rule. However, the MPCA chose not to do so, even though the economic impact analysis will be complete in May 2018.

 

It is irresponsible to move forward with either a sulfate or sulfide rule before determining how it will affect Minnesotans’ everyday lives – especially when it’s based on bad science that will fail to have the desired effect on wild rice crops 20 percent of the time.

 

Regional Strength and Prosperity

Iron ore mining is the strongest industry in northeast Minnesota. For more than 130 years, Minnesota’s iron mines have helped build our region, state, and nation. A sulfate or sulfide standard could have a large economic impact on the region, potentially taking attention and investments away from job growth and new projects in the area. More research needs to be done on the impacts any standard could have on jobs, the economy and the cost of living before this rule moves any further. Especially since there’s no proof a standard helps wild rice, which is the original purpose and intent.

 

Make Your Voice Heard 

How can you share your opinion on the wild rice sulfate standard? The public comment period is open until 4:30pm on November 22, 2017. Learn how to submit comments online through http://taconite.org/call2action. We encourage you to share your opinions and thoughts regarding this proposed rule by tomorrow afternoon.

We Stand with Enbridge

Those of us at Better In Our Back Yard write today to express our support of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project. We’re ready for this project to move forward because it stands to benefit our great state in so many ways.

We Want a Stronger Minnesota Economy

We all live in Minnesota for a few reasons:

  1. We love all the outdoor amenities our great state provides.
  2. We’re able to make a good living here – and we depend on a diverse and strong economy to supply the good-paying jobs we need. A study by Richard Lichty, Professor Emeritus from University of Minnesota – Duluth, concluded that “Construction of the Project will have significant economic benefits to Minnesota economy.” This includes positive financial impacts before, during and after construction.
  3. We’re ready for the $2.5 billion economic boost and 13,000+ jobs the Line 3 project is positioned to provide. We also believe this project increase the ability of Enbridge to serve refineries in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which leads to the retention of thousands of high-paying refinery jobs.

 

We Care About Environmental Safety

The bottom line is that the new Line 3 will improve safety for workers, landowners and communities while reducing the impact of maintenance of the existing Line 3 pipeline. Replacement of Line 3 will help ensure a stable supply of oil is transported safely through our state. Today, pipeline transport is the safest, most efficient and least costly way to transport oil – and it is far safer than shipping by trucks or trains.

 

We Support Our Local Communities

It’s not just labor, construction or refinery jobs that will see a boost from the Line 3 project. Local businesses in the retail, hospitality and food services sector will also see positive impacts. Enbridge invested over $12 million in community strengthening initiatives across North America. By focusing on safety, environmental and social issues, Enbridge leaves a lasting impact on the communities they serve.
 

We Stand with Enbridge

We stand with Enbridge because we trust Enbridge. Plain and simple. Enbridge has a long history of success as a North American leader in the transportation of oil and natural gas. Enbridge moves 28% of the crude oil produced in North America and they move it safely over 15,000+ miles of pipeline. Enbridge is also investing in renewable energy technology, and has nearly 3,000 megawatts of net renewable generation and power transmission capacity. That’s something we can get behind.

 

Have Your Voice Heard 

How can you share your support for industry and Line 3? The public comment period in connection with the public hearings being held on the certificate of need and route permit applications is open until 4:30pm on November 22, 2017. Comments may be submitted online by going to the following: https://mn.gov/puc/line3/participate/comment/. We encourage you to share your opinions and thoughts supporting this project with your personalized experiences and history with the region.

Conversations To Be Had In The Middle

Supporters of responsible industry and their opposition are getting more and more accustomed to attending public hearings across the state to make their voices heard.

The most recent of these hearings have been on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)’s proposed wild rice sulfate rule. These hearings were held in St. Paul, Virginia, Bemidji, and Cloquet last week; there was another Monday in Brainerd, and hearings wrap up with a video conference today (Thursday).

Better In Our Back Yard’s members have been present for all the wild rice hearings, and one thing has become abundantly clear about the opposing viewpoints – they agree more often than they disagree.

On both sides, people are fighting passionately to preserve their way of life. Both sides are proud to continue long legacies of providing for their families and sustaining their communities – whether with wild rice or iron mining. Both sides feel the proposed standard is a direct attack on the way they and their families have supported themselves and their communities.

On both sides, people are tired of traveling all over the state to fight for their way of life. At the Virginia hearing, an iron miner said he and his co-workers continue to miss time with their families traveling the state to fight to keep the mines open. They’re exhausted, he said. At the Cloquet hearing, Winona LaDuke said traveling the state is impossible for many low-income tribe members who may not have access to vehicles. The process is exhausting, she said.

On both sides, people want to see wild rice protected. This was made clear by every speaker at every hearing – wild rice is an important grain that must be protected. Not one speaker said they didn’t care about wild rice.

On both sides, people do not believe the current standard will sufficiently protect wild rice. Both sides agree the proposed standard is too confusing and can’t be consistently enforced. Furthermore, iron miners and wastewater treatment operators contend this proposal and its preceding standard are based on bad science.

This is where the opposing sides differ. While industry supporters don’t believe a sulfate standard is necessary at all, based on scientific studies that show sulfate doesn’t affect wild rice until very high levels –  the opposition believes the standard should not be changed from the 10 mg/L – unless it is to go lower.

The most alarming difference is that while industry supporters believe we can (and do) mine iron ore better and cleaner than anywhere in the world, the opposition argues that after 130+ years of iron mining in Minnesota, it should no longer be done here at all. Here, where we are home to the cleanest water in the state.

Better In Our Back Yard and other supporters of responsible industry are always confused when those who are fighting so diligently to protect the environment in their own backyard fail to look at the world on a global scale. We have been mining iron in Minnesota for more than 130 years, right next to the cleanest water everyone is fighting so hard to protect. That water remains clean because Minnesotans – including those who work in industry – care about protecting the environment. When anti-industry groups fight to close mines in Minnesota, they are fighting (knowingly or not) for mines that typically have little-to-no safety, environmental, or child labor regulations to mine.

When both sides have so much in common, there are conversations to be had in the middle. Both sides can benefit from each other. While the tribes certainly have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, they also use products made from the ore that their neighbors mine. And those who support the mining industry also care deeply about our environment and natural resources. Together, both groups can work collaboratively to find the best practices to mine responsibly and protect a sacred state grain – wild rice.

 

Congressional Support of Line 3 Project

Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
Attn: Mr. Scott Ek
121 7th Place E, Suite 250
Saint Paul, MN 55101-2147

RE: MPUC Docket Nos. CN-14-916 and PPL-15-137
OAH Docket Nos. 65-2500-32764 and 65-2500-33377

Dear Commissioners:

We write in support of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project under consideration by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and believe the project should move forward to improve safety, provide rural Minnesota counties with addition tax revenue, and create thousands of high-paying, living wage jobs. As you review the case we urge a final route that most adequately protects our region’s lakes, waters, and surrounding environment as required under state and federal laws.

With respect to pipeline operational safety, the replacement will significantly improve Line 3’s environmental footprint and integrity with the installation of new, high-quality steel, anti-corrosion coatings, and other state-of-the-art facilities and technologies. We also appreciate that the preferred route and alternatives under review avoid disturbing new tribal reservation land and follows other existing pipelines, transmission lines, and railroad lines as much as possible. A modern replacement also significantly lowers the risk of a spill on country and state lands that would be crossed by the project in Minnesota. It also has the benefit of keeping additional heavy oil trucks off our roads and tank cars off our railroad tracks. Studies have shown both these transportation methods are more prone than pipelines to accidents and spills when moving crude oil.

The project will also provide an important boost to Greater Minnesota’s rural economy. The construction and installation phase are estimated to create thousands of jobs, with a significant number of them being local workers. The demand for high-paying, skilled workers and laborers will be welcomed in our communities, especially during peak construction periods. A number of other industries will also see benefit from the multiplier effects associated with the construction of this project and Enbridge’s investment.

Rural counties we represent stand to gain significant property tax revenues from Enbridge if the Line 3 Replacement Project is approved. Tens of millions of dollars in new revenue are expected to be collected to further support schools, hospitals, libraries, and other services in rural Minnesota counties. For these safety, public benefit, and economic reasons, we support the Line 3 Replacement Project and hope the Commission will consider our views when making a final determination on the project.

Sincerely,

Collin C. Peterson Richard M. Nolan
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Enbridge Line 3 Replacement to Ensure Our Way of Life in Minnesota

Those born and raised in Minnesota and those who have relocated here for education or work can agree: we live in a spectacular state. It’s beautiful. It’s got character. It has fun cities and excellent outdoor activities. And it’s worth protecting. We must strive to protect both our environment and our way of life – and that requires a bit of a balancing act.

When it comes to industrial projects that could impact our environment, Minnesota doesn’t want to be careless, we do our homework. We want to know that our work isn’t going to have a negative impact on our environment, because it is too precious a resource to risk. That’s why there’s been so much controversy around Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project. How do we respect our environment while improving our way of life?

Caring for our environment doesn’t mean we’re anti-business and industry. Quite the contrary, in many ways, industrial progress has made the planet better. A clean, healthy environment is possible because of energy. Think back 300 years, families breathed in smoke from fires they had in their homes to keep warm; now we flip a switch and get heat. Our water tastes fresh and it’s safe to drink; previously water was drawn from water sources shared with animals which led to people getting sick. Previously changes in weather created unsafe conditions in our homes, now we turn a knob that makes it cool when it’s hot and hot when it’s cool. Energy-powered machines allow us to transform our naturally hazardous environment to a far healthier environment. Using energy has risks, but thanks to technology and care taken by people employing that technology in the energy industry we minimize the risks. Highly industrialized countries have environments that are safe, healthy and clean. Our way of life, conveniences we’ve grown accustomed to will change without energy. Yet, we are racked with guilt over industrial development. We hear our impact on nature is too big; we are made to feel bad about our impact. We hear that we need to save our planet from human beings, rather than improve the planet for human beings.

Minnesotans consume more than 12.8 million gallons of petroleum products every day. As a state without any domestic source of crude supply, Minnesota relies on imports to meet its energy needs. 100% of pipeline-delivered Canadian crude oil supplied to Minnesota refineries comes from Enbridge’s system. Access to a reliable and secure energy supply will help ensure an affordable and reliable source of energy for consumers. While we are making great strides in renewable energy and electric vehicle growth, it is not sufficient to displace the demand for petroleum products. Petroleum will still be the single largest source of energy for Minnesotans for the foreseeable future. Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project is an important part of our energy infrastructure and Minnesotans’ way of life.

The Line 3 Replacement project stands to create 4,200 construction jobs, 2,100 of which will go to hardworking Minnesotans. It will also impact nearly 3,000 jobs in hospitality and retail and 1,600 local supply jobs. That’s over 8,000 Minnesotan jobs positively impacted by the Line 3 project. It also represents a $2.1 billion private investment in our great state and will bring $162 million in local wages for Minnesotan workers.

The existing crude oil pipeline was built in the early 1960s. Because of the type of coating that was used on the pipeline at the time it was built, it has external corrosion and is only operating at 50 percent of capacity. There is an extensive dig and repair program required to keep the pipeline operating safely while the regulatory process for the replacement proceeds. This pipeline needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

The proposed new pipeline will protect our environment and improve safety with new infrastructure. The likelihood of spills or leaks will be dramatically decreased. To further protect our environment, a partially new route has been proposed. This is a tough situation because it runs through culturally important lands and waters as well as the headwaters of the Mississippi River. We all agree that protecting these lands needs to remain a priority throughout the construction of the pipeline as well as when it is put into service.

Enbridge understands that we as Minnesotans care about our state. We want what’s best for our environment, our economy, and the health and safety of our communities. That’s why we need to keep moving forward to keep progressing responsibly and sustainably in Minnesota.

Extensive public hearings for the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project have taken place across the state of Minnesota over the past several weeks. There are two remaining, in Cross Lake on Wednesday, October 25 and St. Cloud on Thursday, October 26. Share your reasons for the project.

We Care Too – Our Response to the New York Times Article

A recent article in New York Times Magazine is making the rounds in the Northland and likely other places across the country this week. While the reporting in the article was fair and unbiased – it explained the difference between tourism jobs and industry jobs, the geology of our region, history of industry here, and every day uses of the metals Minnesota mines and hopes to mine in the future – quotes from anti-mining activists Becky Rom and Reid Carron went past biased into disrespectful, disparaging, and hurtful to those who work in and support mining in Minnesota.

“Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists,” says Becky Rom.

“Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here — they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company,” Carron told me. “They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.”

People are allowed to have different viewpoints. Certainly Ms. Rom and Mr. Carron are allowed an opinion about the proposed mining projects, and while they have since issued an apology, it is unacceptable to make these kinds of direct attacks on the well-meaning hardworking individuals who work in industry.

Meanwhile, you will notice that while people who work in and support mining in Minnesota care deeply about responsible industry and what it means for our region, state, and nation, they focus on their work instead of insulting people who don’t support the work they do.

In addition to being mean-spirited, Ms. Rom and Mr. Carron’s characterizations of Minnesota miners and mining supporters are just downright inaccurate.

The thousands of men and women who work in Minnesota’s mining industries are educated and thoughtful. They work hard to provide for their families, produce the raw materials needed for the things we use every day, and to do so in a responsible way to protect the water they drink and lakes where they swim and fish.

These are people who, when they aren’t working long hours in all kinds of weather conditions, get involved in their communities. They are coaches, volunteers, and fundraisers. Most recently iron miners and companies in the mining industry have donated time, money, and resources to help those affected by hurricanes. These are not people who are blind to the world around them.

Instead, the people who work in these industries are very well aware of the world around them. They are very well aware of the lax safety and environmental laws other countries operate under. They are proud to mine under some of the strongest safety and environmental regulations in the country if not the world – because they know the demand for these materials are high, and they know they can mine them better and safer than anyone else.

If anyone is blind to the world around them in this scenario, it may be Ms. Rom and Mr. Carron, who refuse to acknowledge where the things they use every day come from.

Thank you to our miners. Thank you to the companies that provide goods and services to the mines. Thank you to the students who want to work in our mines to innovate our industry and sustain our region’s vitality.  Above all, thank you to all informed citizens for taking the time to understand that this conversation is not one-sided, that responsible, caring people are engaging in these issues every day, and that these issues are much more complex than Ms. Rom and Mr. Carron have portrayed them.