www.mnaction.org Wednesday, April 23, 2014  

Protect Our Water and Our Wallets

You can take action on this alert by reading the information below and following the directions at the bottom.

Issue

Senate Environment Committee to Vote on Mining Bill

Background

The Hearings:
The Senate Environment Committee will host three hearings covering the history of mining in Minnesota, one of the proposed projects (PolyMet), and the bill we are supporting (Senate File 2349).

The hearings are on March 8th at 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and March 10th at 6:00 p.m. at the State Capitol – call for for directions and details: 612-332-9630 or visit www.leg.mn

We need to pack the room with supporters for the March 10th hearing. Please wear blue if you can and grab a “Protect Clean Water” sticker outside the hearing room to show your support.

Please call for directions: 612-332-9630

The Bill:
House File 2560 (Hausman’s bill) and Senate File 2349 (Carlson’s bill) would clarify who is responsible for ongoing cleanup, require financial assurance to include costs for long-term water treatment, strengthen requirements about the forms of financial assurance that are acceptable, and increase transparency and opportunities for public input.

Sulfide Mining:
This type of mining, new to Minnesota, has a long history of leaving behind permanent pollution problems (aka Superfund sites) in other states. Unlike the iron and taconite mining, sulfide mining creates acid runoff that pollutes water, harms fish and native wild rice, and poses serious threats to public health. Taxpayers in other states have been stuck with decades of pollution clean-up when companies have gone bankrupt or abandoned the mines.

With these historical problems, our State Legislature needs to strengthen Minnesota’s existing laws to make sure that mining companies clean up the pollution. The mining companies, not taxpayers, should pay for the long-term pollution clean-up costs, even if they go bankrupt.

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency gave the PolyMet Draft Environmental Impact Statement the agency's lowest rating. Citing impacts on water quality, the glaring absence of information about financial assurance, wetlands destruction, and other impacts, the agency said the mine as proposed is “unacceptable” and the environmental review was “inadequate.”

Read the EPA’s full comments: http://www.friends-bwca.org/wp-content/uploads/EPAPolymetcomment.pdf

Financial Assurance:
Minnesota has some laws in place to manage non-ferrous mining, but there are numerous gaps that expose the state and its citizens to significant risks. These problems with Minnesota’s existing damage deposit rules include a lack of transparency, too much control by one state agency, and allowed forms of assurance that are not guaranteed in the event of bankruptcy.

For more information about the risks posed by new non-ferrous mining and how current Minnesota regulations should be strengthened, please visit: www.SafeMinesMN.org or click on "More" below.

More Info

Message To Be Sent To
Your message will be sent to each of the following targets:

Your State Senator
Message
A sample message appears below, which you may edit before sending.

Vote YES on SF 2349 to Protect Our Water and Our Wallets


Dear Senator,

I urge you to vote “Yes” on SF 2349 (Carlson’s bill) to strengthen Minnesota’s financial assurance regulations for new non-ferrous mines.

Existing financial assurance regulations are insufficient. Please vote to ensure that Minnesota taxpayers won’t be stuck with the cost of cleaning up pollution left behind when mining companies go bankrupt.

SF 2349 will clarify who is responsible for ongoing cleanup, require financial assurance to include costs for long-term water treatment, strengthen requirements about the forms of financial assurance that are acceptable, and increase transparency and opportunities for public input.

There are many examples of non-ferrous mines that have left behind a legacy of water pollution. Minnesota taxpayers, and our lakes and streams, deserve better protection. I hope I can count on your support.

Your name and address here


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