The Mount Polley sulfide mining disaster (
by Dan Burns
Apr 25, 2022, 7:30 AM

MN lege: Legitimate taxpayer protection

Especially since, oh, about 1980, a whole lot of legislative proposals, at all levels of government, have been presented as efforts to protect and advance the interests of the taxpaying public. A great many of them have just been thinly disguised efforts to further enrich and empower the ultra-entitled, at the expense of the rest of us. Far too many of those have become law. Occasionally, though, a legitimate effort to protect all taxpayers comes along. Those tend not to pass so readily.

A good example of the latter is an effort in the Minnesota legislature to make sure that the public doesn’t get stuck with the (likely astronomical) bill, someday, to clean up Polymet’s (that is, Glencore’s) mess, if Polymet happens. This bill was introduced in 2021, and neither it nor its companion have moved past their first committees. Presumably because the sponsors know it would have no chance in the MN Senate, at this time. And, perhaps, because legislators are holding their fire on PolyMet while, like the rest of us, they await court decisions.

If the DFL gets the trifecta in November, and subsequently passes something like this, will Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) sign it? He’s been very hands-off on big environmental issues, presumably because he believes that politically it’s the best way to go. I would think he’d feel compelled to sign something like this into law, though. That Big Mining should have to deal with its own environmental atrocities seems pretty obvious to large majorities, these days.

On a related issue, I’m frankly a little surprised that we aren’t seeing a bigger public push right now from PolyMet/Glencore, based on supposed “strategic minerals” concerns. Again, probably they’re in a holding pattern while waiting on the courts. And maybe they actually realize that more and more of the public has caught onto “shock doctrine” plays, and doesn’t like them.

Given all this important work underway, the (Defense Production Act) is a distraction and intended to serve up favors to Biden’s political opponents and a mining industry intent on picking up spoils from the Russian invasion. This is not how we spur a just and clean energy revolution.

Pretty well sums it up.

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