The indefatigable environmental heroes Bob and Pat Tammen (2015 SJT photo)
by Steve Timmer
Aug 24, 2019, 12:00 PM

Environmentalist Bob Tammen wins a Spotty ™

Graphic by Tild

For this letter in the Star Tribune on Thursday, August 22nd, Bob Tammen wins the coveted Spotty™.

As a miner, I know this won’t work

The Star Tribune’s Aug. 19 opinion page had an interesting juxtaposition: a counterpoint by Nancy McCready promoting PolyMet (“Transparency, PolyMet foes demand. If only they’d noticed 14 years of it”) next to a separate feature, L.K. Hanson’s weekly “You Don’t Say” cartoon, quoting Richard Hofstadter, author of the essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” Hofstadter would have instantly recognized the mining promotion culture in Minnesota.

Mining fans in Minnesota have themselves convinced that radical environmentalists and metro legislators are diabolically limiting their access to economic prosperity. I believe they exhibit symptoms of paranoia.

The truth is simpler, and it’s mostly economic. Our existing taconite ore bodies and proposed copper ore bodies are low-grade. Without subsidies and weakened environmental regulations our mining corporations are not competitive in a global marketplace.

The Hofstadter quote was great: “It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.”

As a former miner, I know many of the members of Conservationists With Common Sense. They are more or less normal. I would trust them with my life, but not with my environmental or mining policy.

Bob Tammen, Soudan, Minn.

Remember, a Spotty™ is awarded for an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a blog post or comment that I wish I had written myself.

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