What Entities are Behind the Reckless Endangerment of Northern Minnesota and its Water Resources
By Gary G. Kohls, MD, guest to Natural Blaze
Here is an incomplete list of some of the culprits:
- A) Foreign Mining Corporations (PolyMet, Glencore, Twin Metals, Antofagasta, etc.);
- Minnesota’s Elected Politicians/Accomplices (both Corporate-influenced “Liberal” Democrats, and “Conservative” Republicans);
- Minnesota’s “Regulatory” Agencies that are Supposed to be “Natural Resource Protectors” (Including the DNR, the PCA, and the US Forest Service); and
- Most Area Newspapers; Most Area Television Stations; All the Area’s Chambers of Commerce; Minnesota Power (Electric Utility); the Trump Administration; Regional Labor Unions: and Dozens of Suppliers/Businesses that will Temporarily Profit from Supplying the Mining Industry While Simultaneously Risking the Permanent Poisoning of the St Louis River Watershed, Including Lake Superior
This column will point out and try to de-mystify some of the often-perplexing developments in the decades-long debate concerning allowing foreign mining corporations (which could justifiably be considered “Undocumented Aliens”) to invade water-rich northern Minnesota in order to extract our state’s non-ferrous metal deposits – for the selfish enrichment of its foreign shareholders and management, none of whom really care about the long-term consequences to the state’s precious water resources.
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Everywhere in the world where copper mines have been dug and the poisonous tailing’s ponds have been installed, there has not been a single one that has not permanently polluted the ground water and the downstream watersheds, often catastrophically, see the list of 100 of them at . State of the art copper sulfide mines inevitably produce as an inevitable by-product sulfuric acid and many other toxic substances that poison the soil, air, ground water, nearby aquifers, lakes and downstream rivers, especially in water-rich environments like northern Minnesota.
Among those who should be at the forefront of concern about the “reckless endangerment” of northern Minnesota’s intact and relatively pristine water resources are the many all-too-often short-sighted political leaders of both corporate-captured political parties. One must ask: “Are any of you pro-copper/nickel/sulfide mining politicians listening?” This means you, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Dayton, Rick Nolan, Tom Bakk, Kurt Daude, David Tomassoni, Tom Rukavina, Chris Coleman, Paul Thissen ,Tim Walz Pete Stauber, to name just a few of the many politicians that may be somehow beholden to non-ferrous mining interests because of campaign “contributions.
That group of politicians above should also contain the names of every Iron Range politician (of both political parties) that absolutely refuses to listen to the well-informed points of view that doesn’t believe you can trust greedy profit-making multinational mining corporation any farther than you can throw them. Here is a link to a list of the 100+ most serious mine tailings lagoons that have failed, just since 1960! (http://www.wise-uranium.org/mdaf.html)
Kudos to DFL gubernatorial candidates Tina Liebling, and Rebecca Otto for actually being willing to understand the real science behind the serious dangers of copper/nickel/sulfide mining, especially in a water-rich environment like northern Minnesota. The real science exposes the corporate pseudoscience that pretends that non-ferrous/sulfide mining can be done safely ANYWHERE on earth.
The few scientifically aware politicians that don’t take bribe money from corporations understand the potential long-term potentially disastrous consequences to northern Minnesota’s natural resources, especially its lakes and rivers (and particularly the St Louis River and Lake Superior) if PolyMet’s permits to mine and pollute are approved by Minnesota’s DNR [Department of Natural Resources], Minnesota’s EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and the US Forest Service. Independent-thinking politicians like Liebling and Otto are actually courageous enough to speak the truth, even if it displeases some powerful entities. They are doing what is right. They deserve to be heard and supported by every person with a conscience who also loves Mother Earth.
Have Minnesota’s regulatory agencies also been captured by the mining-related industries? It surely seems to be the case, given all the agency support that PolyMet has been given by them in putting together the permit applications and arranging the various public hearings.
There are a number of other extractive and water-polluting mining companies in the wings waiting to see what happens here in northern Minnesota. It is likely that many of those companies have been contributing to the advertising money that has been spent over the years promoting ALL mining in Minnesota (while obscuring the dangers). Executives of the DNR, the EPA and the US Forest Service may have only been pretending (?) to listen to well-informed, science-minded and altruistic environmentalists at the several open listening meetings that sometimes have been dominated by political operatives, representatives of the various interested foreign mining companies and any number of miners who are grasping at straws hoping to land one of the relatively few temporary jobs promised by PolyMet/Glencore. Sometimes the admittedly under-employed miners have been threatening – and therefore silencing – to the often out-numbered and shouted-down environmentalists when they have tried to testify or talk common sense to the seemingly un-comprehending or closed-eared bureaucrats, PolyMet lobbyists/employees or the miners.
Defending Lake Superior Against the Plans of “Undocumented Alien” Exploiters of Minnesota’s Resources
It shouldn’t have to be pointed out to citizens of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Ontario that Lake Superior is the largest body of fresh water on earth and that, despite the attempts to pollute it by many corporate entities, it is still drinkable, still fishable and still swimmable. It shouldn’t have to be pointed out that Superior is the head of the other so-called Great Lakes that were all once-upon a time really great; that is, until most of the downstream lakes began being polluted by big industries such as Big Steel, Big Mining, Big Agribusiness, Big Fertilizer, Big Chemical, Big Farm and a variety of other water-polluting and water-extracting industries. Most of the entities within those groups have very wealthy owners who don’t appear to give a damn about the sustainability of the planet. The huge injustices that happened to the water defenders and the environment in North Dakota last year are good examples of corporate criminality and an impending police state, which is actually just business as usual for the wealthy exploiters of the planet. Multi-billionaire owners all have well-funded lobbying groups that try to twist the arms of every politician that has some influence over political parties, legislators, governmental watchdog agencies (including environmental protection agencies), Big Media and most opinion leaders. Their presence is often as obscure as the alleged “invisible hand of the market”.
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario are sovereign states that are all downstream from PolyMet’s proposed open pit mines and tailings pond at the headwaters of the St Louis River, which PolyMet is supposedly required by law to maintain for 500 years into the future (that is, until they go belly-up, the price of copper tanks or they otherwise abandon the mine, in which US taxpayers will have to pay for the clean-up). Those sovereign states should be closely allying themselves with northern Minnesota’s environmentalists and therefore should be speaking out for their interests by questioning the intentions of the foreign invaders that have been bamboozling Minnesota’s regulatory agencies for more than a decade.
So the four states that border Lake Superior are all users and consumers of its water that will at some point in the (probably near) future be poisoned by Minnesota mining. Therefore they should be defending the lake against the plans of the “undocumented alien” exploiters from Canada, Switzerland and Chile.
PolyMet et al. are passing themselves off as “friends of the wilderness” and friends of healthy watersheds. In reality, every copper mine in the history of the world has been an enemy of breathable air, good fishing, good hunting, good wild rice harvesting, drinkable water and good beer from the many local breweries all of which are dependent on the health of the water that upstream entities will be sending them.
Beware Alien Corporate Exploiters That Come Bearing Gifts
Switzerland’s Glencore and Chile’s Antofagasta have had as their front groups the Canadian penny stock companies PolyMet and Twin Metals. Both penny stock companies will naturally be beholden to their powerful multinational parents and won’t have any future say in hiring practices (such as allowing unions to form) or selling practices (Glencore has already expressed its intention to sell the first 5 years of PolyMet’s metal’s production to the highest bidder on the open market).
Carl Sagan, author of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, once wrote:
If you’ve been bamboozled long enough, you tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. You’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured you. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to yourself, that you’ve been “taken”. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
And the following words of wisdom from an anonymous online blogger also apply to the non-ferrous, copper mining industry issue, as it does to every other nefarious multinational corporations within the categories of Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Vaccine, Big Food, Big Chemistry, Big Agribusiness, and every for-profit major corporation associated with the profit centers surrounding Wall Street and War Street: The wise blogger wrote:
Industry-controlled ‘science’ is not really science but a smokescreen to pave the way for products that may be harmful – but what do they care as long as they profit? There are many great scientists but there are also some who are willing to be hired to ‘prove’ that something doesn’t cause cancer, or that something is ‘safe’. You cannot trust the EPA, the FDA, or industry ‘science’.
Every person with a conscience who also happens to be concerned with the future of our increasingly corporate-controlled and militarized nation needs to step forward and forcefully challenge both the once well-meaning but increasingly corporate-captured politicians of the once-“liberal” Democratic Party, as well as the perennially corporate-captured “conservative” Republican politicians who always need increasing amounts of campaign money from corporations to win their next elections. Of course those bribed politicians in both political parties eventually find themselves forced to “pay back” on the “investments” that they once received from their wealthy paymasters’ via the seductive “Snake in the Grass”, “Drill Baby Drill”, sociopathic corporate lobbyists.
It seems to many of us altruistic environmentalists that many of the co-opted PolyMet-supporting Democrats noted in the third paragraph above are figuratively flashing the “middle finger of scorn” at a many of their base supporters by promoting the exploitation of that special portion of Mother Earth that we call Minnesota.
Senator Amy Klobuchar and Twin Metals (the Canadian Penny Stock Company Headquartered in Ely)
I recently discovered a letter from US Minnesota Senior Senator Amy Klobuchar that was written in 2011. In the letter, reproduced below, DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar promised to “serve” the CEO of the foreign copper mining company Twin Metals. Twin Metals is the Canadian Penny Stock company that has established its American office in Ely, Minnesota, where some of Senator Klobuchar’s relatives once lived.
Twin Metals, wholly-owned by the ruthless Chilean copper mining corporation Antofagasta, has been maneuvering to open an underground copper/sulfide mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area. As with all sulfide mines 99+% of the 20,000+ tons of sulfide ore (that the company says it will be extracting daily), will be ground up into a fine powder, the powder liquefied so that the marketable metals can be extracted chemically or via electric current and the waste matter and unmarketable toxic metals (some of which are also carcinogenic) pumped through an easily sabotaged pipeline to a massive tailings pond nearby that will inevitably have serious pollution problems for an eternity.
At the time that Senator Klobuchar wrote the poorly-thought-out below, she had likely been bamboozled by Twin Metals propaganda about “responsible mining” and therefore was likely totally ignorant of the huge differences between the relatively less-polluting iron mining industry that her relatives experienced in the distant past and the highly toxic copper/sulfide mining industry that Twin Metals will be conducting.
Twin Metals, after all, is the “junior mining company” front group that has been paving the way for its parent corporation, Antofagasta, who is the infamous multinational Chilean-based copper mining giant, that has been polluting the earth every since it was close buddies with anti-regulation, anti-union, anti-worker’s rights, fascist dictator and international war criminal, Augusto Pinochet.
The corporate management of Antofagasta is “famous” for its ruthlessness in how it has treated its mine workers and the earth. They have used tactics similar to how General Pinochet treated his enemies.
Pinochet, it should be noted, needed the help of the US NeoConservative Chicago School of Economics, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and the CIA to orchestrate the September 11, 1973 military coup d’etat that violently overthrew the pro-worker, pro-union, anti-fascist democratic socialist President Salvador Allende whose politics of fairness threatened the 1% ruling elites.
And here is the seven year-old letter. My hope is that Senator Klobuchar will recant of her old and uninformed promise now that the intentions of these penny stock extractive copper mining companies have become much clearer.
US Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar
Committees: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Commerce, Science and Transportation
Joint Economic Committee
400 Miners Drive
Ely, MN 55731
August 5, 2011
Thank you for the kind invitation to join you for today’s celebration of the opening of Twin Metals new Ely Operational Headquarters. Although my schedule prevents me from being with you in person today, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on this milestone event. A project such as this cannot be realized without the vision, hard work and commitment of all involved so thank you for your work and commitment to future job growth in Minnesota.
This office opening today comes at a time when our state’s economy needs investment, job growth and strong utilization of new technologies. Generations of Minnesotans, including my grandparents and many of my relatives raised their families on the range, working in mines and related industries. As many of you know I have roots right here in Ely, where my grandfather worked in the underground mines, so that makes this office opening in Ely special to me, so many more generations of Minnesotans can thrive, where my grandfather settled and my father grew up.
I wish you well as you gather today to celebrate and please know I am proud to serve you in the United States Senate and look forward to working with you for years to come.
United States Senator
Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as “holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care”. Since his retirement, he has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American imperialism, friendly fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, and the dangers of Big Pharma, psychiatric drugging, the over-vaccinating of children and other movements that threaten American democracy, civility, health and longevity and the future of the planet. Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived HERE HERE and HERE.