Kurt Daudt | Pat Kessler photo, I think
by Steve Timmer
Oct 24, 2015, 11:00 AM

“Leave no nest unshitted!”

Kurt Daudt, 2015

Governor Mark Dayton has said that whether or not to permit the PolyMet Mining non-ferrous or sulfide mining project will be the most momentous decision of his time as governor. In other words, he takes it seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he wants to retain an outside law firm to help him evaluate the risk. He’s approached legislative leaders about permission to do that.

Having studied the financial risks a bit myself, I’ll say they are considerable. The history of mining can be summed up thusly:

Miners appear, fleece investors, the public, and the environment, then bail with everyone else holding the bag. The country, nay the world, is littered with specimens of the pillage of miners. Just by way of illustration, there are eighteen federal Superfund sites in Montana alone, over half of them are from mining or metals production (processing or smelting). All of them, I think, are related to extractive industries in some way. A Superfund designation is being considered in Montana for an aluminum plant owned by Glencore PLC, PolyMet Mining’s sugarless sugar daddy.

“A mine is a hole in the ground owned by a liar,” are remarks attributed to Mark Twain.

A group of Duluth-area businesses called the Downstream Coalition has asked the governor to oppose the project, asserting that the economy and the public have much more to lose from the project than can hope to be gained.

Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the Minnesota House, made remarks for the linked article that I could have written for him, without even seeing the article:

“I have not heard from Governor Dayton about this and would need to see a formal proposal,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said in a written statement. “I look forward to a discussion about making PolyMet a reality so we can bring good-paying, long-lasting jobs to the Iron Range.”

Governor Dayton sounds like a prudent executive trying to make an informed decision, considering the risks to the state and to all its citizens, while Kurt Daudt sounds like a log-rolling boxhead, heedless of anyone but mining interests.

Update: Cementing his position as a PolyMet tout, Lee Schafer posted this:

Lee Schafer tweet

Lee Schafer tweet

Perhaps Lee is unaware that issues of corporate finance and corporate law generally, bankruptcy and reorganization law, suretyship and guaranty law, insurance law, real estate and water law, including the rights of downstream riparian property owners, liability for health hazards created by surface and groundwater pollution, liability for damage to recreational interests, liability to sovereign native nations for pollution, to name just some, are legal issued involved.

Governor Dayton has obviously thought about this a lot more that either Kurt Daudt or Lee Schafer.

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