Walz Fights for Working Class and Scientific Review in Opposing H.R. 3905
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) released the following statement after opposing H.R. 3905:
“When it comes to making decisions concerning our beloved outdoor treasures like the Boundary Waters, we must follow a robust, credible process, science and facts. Equally as important, when it comes to making decisions about jobs and the quality of life for hard-working men and women in mining, small businesses and other industries, we must also follow a process, science and facts.
“H.R. 3905 violates this core principle of mine, and that’s why I voted against the bill today.
“As someone who supports responsible mining, and a long-time champion of working people and union members, I believe H.R. 3905 will ultimately make it harder to mine in Minnesota over the long term because it fails to respect the lawful environmental review process currently underway and jeopardizes the ability to earn the critical ‘social permit.’ I have often said that, in addition to having every permit to move forward with projects that impact our natural resources, you also need a ‘social permit.’ That is, we need to build trust in all of the communities affected and among all Minnesotans. Failing to acquire a ‘social permit’ will only lead to more division, more delay, and more frustration for all concerned.
“H.R. 3905 also penalizes Minnesota in an unprecedented fashion by singling us out as the only state in the Union not covered by the Antiquities Act as we know it today, a 100-year old law designed to protect significant American natural wonders and historical sites.
“Under current law, we are one year through a two year study examining whether cooper nickel mining and other industrial activities can co-exist safely near the Boundary Waters. H.R. 3905 will kill that study before it is done. I voted against H.R. 3905 in part because I believe it is entirely reasonable to allow this study to be completed and use the results of the study to inform public debate and decisions. Let me add, however, I am opposed to unilaterally imposing a 20 year moratorium on mining in the area without the benefit of the results of the study in hand. Putting a moratorium in place without the study would also violate my core principle of allowing a robust process to move forward.
“I understand the points of view of the miner and construction worker as well as the small business entrepreneur in the outdoor recreation industry. Both are concerned about how decisions like these may impact their way of life. Both individuals rightfully want to make a good living wage. Both want to do what is best for their families. Both want clean water to drink and swim in. Both also want to protect prized hunting and fishing habitat. Both perspectives deserve consideration.
“I refuse to accept the false choices that are often put before us on this issue and strongly believe that we can find pathways forward together if we put our differences aside and find common ground in ways that improve the quality of life for all Minnesotans.”