There was a time along the north shore of Minnesota when paper birch and mountain ash thrived. This was before mining in the Minnesota Iron Range sent its tentacles to the North Shore and a town now known as Silver Bay. Along with jobs came the inevitable pollution of water, land and air as a coal-fired plant started up along the shore, along with dumping of taconite tailings into the pristine waters of Lake Superior. This has had a lasting effect on the entire north shore.
Although the dumping of tailings was stopped by Judge Miles Lord in the 70’s, the coal plant remains and the taconite tailings basins are not far from shore. One night stay in Silver Bay, as I walked outside on a fall night, the plumes of this plant blew decidedly north along the Lake Superior shore. This is when I realized what had happened to the birch and the mountain ash.
What are we doing to this world? What madness decides that ores of any kind trump clean water, air and land? The last thing we need in the heart of this treasure is another mine or coal-fired plant. What of sane and sustainable infrastructure that promotes and protects the land and waters of the Arrowhead a major source of freshwater in the world?
My comments on the Polymet proposed copper mine: