www.mnaction.org Friday, November 28, 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

House Environment Committee Informational Hearing on Sulfide Mining Bill

Background

The Hearing:
The House Environment Committee will host an INFORMATIONAL HEARING on the bill we are supporting to protect our water from sulfide mining pollution. This bill requires stronger financial assurance and more public input into the process (House File 2560).

The House hearing is on March 18th at 4:30 p.m. in the State Office Building (just west of the Capitol) - call Friends of the Boundary Waters for directions and details: 612-332-9630 or visit www.house.mn for more info.

We need to pack the room with supporters! Please wear blue if you can and grab a “Protect Clean Water” sticker outside the hearing room to show your support. Though the committee will not vote on the bill on Thursday, this is another opportunity to get media attention and public dialogue on this issue.

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 Representative
Message
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Support HF 2560 to Protect Our Water and Our Wallets


Dear Representative,

I urge you 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.

HF 2560 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 in other states. 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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