Conservation Minnesota

CM Press Release: New Statewide Initiative Asks if Sulfide Mining is Right for Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Ayme Zemke                              Greg Seitz
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New Statewide Initiative Asks if Sulfide Mining is Right for Minnesota

Mining Truth challenges 1,000 Minnesotans to take the “Take Two, Ask Two” Pledge by Memorial Day

Minneapolis (May 23, 2012)—This week marks the official start of cabin season. It also marks the kick-off of Mining Truth, an initiative encouraging Minnesotans to learn more about sulfide mining – a controversial issue facing all Minnesotans, especially those who live, work or travel in the northern part of our state.

Sulfide mining produces metals like copper, nickel and gold, but its byproducts include sulfuric acid and toxic contaminants. Two sulfide mines are proposed in Minnesota’s lake country, one near Lake Superior and one near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The two mining companies, PolyMet and Twin Metals, have active drilling activities underway to support their proposals.

Who’s Behind Mining Truth?
Mining Truth is a coalition led by three organizations: Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA). Their goal is to engage all Minnesotans – including mining companies, non-profit organizations, businesses, policy makers and private citizens – in a respectful, open, fact-based dialogue about the issue. Mining Truth recognizes this issue is controversial, emotional and has far-reaching implications, but believes the best outcome will be achieved when all voices are heard.

This Is Not Your Grandfather’s Iron Mining
“Today, there is little awareness about sulfide mining – it’s very different from the iron ore mining that is more familiar to Minnesotans,” said Paul Danicic, executive director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and founding member of Mining Truth. “This is a complex issue with long-term economic and environmental implications. We need a broad conversation about this and hope others will learn more, join the conversation and form their own opinions.”

What Can You Do?
Mining Truth is asking for 1,000 businesses, non-profit organizations, elected officials and individuals to take the “Take Two, Ask Two” pledge by Memorial Day. The pledge is a promise to take two minutes to learn about sulfide mining, and then ask two friends to do the same. The pledge and more information can be found at MiningTruth.org or on the Mining Truth Facebook page.

“The evidence shows there is reason to be cautious about effects on our lakes, rivers and groundwater, but we also recognize that the immediate need for jobs in Northern Minnesota is real,” said Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota and founding member of Mining Truth. “Mining Truth is intended to give Minnesotans access to information on all aspects of the issue – including economic, environmental and policy views – and to encourage a respectful and healthy conversation by anyone who wants to join.”

Mining Truth resources include:
•    MiningTruth.org – an online resource for sulfide mining-related news and information
•    A Mining Truth Facebook community for the exchange of ideas and opinions
•    The Mining Truth Report – A comprehensive, resource guide that provides third-party data, research and information about sulfide mining
•    A billboard campaign along I-35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth to support issue awareness
•    Community events planned throughout the summer

“There will be critical opportunities throughout the decision-making process for people to share their views on this issue, and every person’s voice matters when it comes to our state’s future,” said Danicic. “That’s why it’s so important for Minnesotans to take the time this summer to learn the facts.”

Who Else Is On Board?
“We must clearly understand what’s at stake, pro and con, on this issue,” said Scott Strand, executive director of MCEA and a founding member of Mining Truth. “We need to hear from all interested Minnesotans when it comes to jobs and the economy, our natural resources including the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior, and revenue and taxpayer liability risks. We need to look at all of the evidence and make a conscious decision about the future of our State.”

In addition to its founding members, Mining Truth has received support to date from: Loll Designs, Environment Minnesota, Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, and Protect our Manoomin.

To learn more about sulfide mining in Minnesota or pledge support to Mining Truth, visit MiningTruth.org.

About Mining Truth
Mining Truth brings together a cross-section of Minnesotans to make sure everyone knows the truth about sulfide mining and its risks to Lake Superior, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Minnesota’s future. Its goal is to provide credible resources and an open forum for discussion so that Minnesotans can make an informed choice about this important issue. Mining Truth was founded by Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA).  For more information, visit www.MiningTruth.org.

About Conservation Minnesota
Started by volunteers in 1984, Conservation Minnesota (CM) is a statewide non-profit organization devoted to protecting our lakes, lands, and way of life.  CM focuses on identifying and solving the conservation problems that matter most to Minnesotans and providing reliable information to help people make important decisions for their families and community. For more information, visit www.conservationminnesota.org.

About Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem, a region that is one of our nation’s natural treasures attracting more than 250,000 visitors a year. Founded in 1976, the Friends works on behalf the Boundary Waters Wilderness through advocacy, education, and facilitating youth wilderness trips. For more information, visit www.friends-bwca.org.

About MCEA
The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) is a nonprofit organization using law, science, and research to protect Minnesota’s natural resources, wildlife and the health of its people. Since it’s founding in 1974, MCEA has advocated for sound environmental policies which provide positive, long-term solutions to the most critical environmental issues facing Minnesota. At the heart of MCEA’s mission is a reverence for nature and a fundamental commitment to sustain and enhance environmental quality for the benefit of future generations. For more information, visit www.mncenter.org.

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