To my fellow tail-end Charlies:
If you had any question where you, the St. Louis River watershed, Ojibwe tribe members and landowners, City of Duluth, and environmentalists stood in the eyes of Glencore plc, well now, there is no doubt. If you had any before. Glencore met with Governor Walz and I guess he was bold enough to suggest that Glencore ought to sign on to the PolyMet mining permit and assume its environmental responsibilities.
Ultimately, the DNR can add Glencore to the permit under a longstanding operating principle, Walz said. Glencore was not a majority shareholder when the DNR granted PolyMet a permit to mine and other permits last year. [But anybody who couldn’t see that Glencore has been in practical control of PolyMet for a long time is either blind or a fool.]
Walz said Glencore was not particularly warm to the idea of adding its name to the permit because the company said it could affect financing option in the eyes of banks and lenders. PolyMet still needs to raise almost $1 billion in project financing to build its facilities.
“(Glencore) did not immediately acknowledge that it would be Glencore’s name,” Walz said. “We made it very clear to us there’s some conversations that need to happen here.”
The Governor’s remarks were short of saying, This is the way it has to be, which was disappointing.
But the money quote is this:
Walz said Glencore was not particularly warm to the idea of adding its name to the permit because the company said it could affect financing option [sic] in the eyes of banks and lenders.
Loosely translated, that means, Our bankers aren’t interested in the project if we have to be responsible for all the mayhem we may cause.
Frankly, a promise by PolyMet to fix any messes it makes is worthless. Perhaps it’ll promise to pay off the national debt while it is at it. Both promises are equally likely to be fulfilled.
Really, Glencore is saying, Look, if you don’t make the citizens and the environment of the state the tail-end Charlies, this thing is not going to get done.
To which I would respond, Hallelujah, somebody is finally being honest. When the mining industry bankers say, This is a bottomless pit (so to speak), we ought to pay attention.
Not that the apple-cheeked Pollyannas at the Land and Minerals Division of the DNR or the mining section of the MPCA are likely to pay attention. Really, they have already demonstrated they won’t.
I am hoping that Governor Walz is the not-industry-captured lickspittle in the room. We already have plenty of those.
It still stuns me that we would invite a stranger into the house to shit on the living room rug.
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