As a life-long Democrat and one who has contributed to and voted for Congressman Nolan, it pains me to come to the conclusion that Nolan needs to go. The issue has gone well beyond his all-out assault on the BWCA. For those of us property owners who live in fear that constant mineral exploration in this region will destroy our property and all we care about, the debate over toxic mining is very real and critical to our wells, water, fishing spots, hunting shacks and way of life. That being said, the issue with Nolan has become as much about his lack of honesty and integrity.
In his latest report to constituents, Nolan said: “My Minnesota Republican colleague Tom Emmer and I also teamed up to pass an amendment to ensure the integrity of the environmental review process for any future mining projects that might take place in designated areas of Superior National Forest.” The facts show that he has done the exact opposite of what he claims. The truth is that Nolan collaborated with Emmer to defund the ongoing environmental review process of the effects of copper-nickel mining in the BWCA watershed so that it can proceed regardless of its effects on a national treasure. His statement is deceptive at best, but more properly, a blatant lie. All this despite his usual mantra: let science decide the issue of sulfide mining.
Further, Emmer, with whom Nolan has “collaborated,” has another bill that would force the government to renew mineral leases in the BWCA watershed. It would also force the Forest Service to grant more mineral leases whenever requested on federal land and eliminate National Environmental Policy Act review in the Superior and Chippewa national forests. Emmer also wants to effectively eliminate the Antiquities Act, used since Teddy Roosevelt’s time to establish national monuments. What this means is that mining, regardless of impact on homes, lakes and rivers would be a matter of right on federal land anywhere; Lake Vermilion for example. This is the environmental policy and “science” Nolan is so proud of.
This was not news based on personal experience. My wife attended a Nolan listening session, expressing concern about a mining exploration company trying to make a path over our property to gain access to state land to explore for hard minerals, despite being told they had no right to do so. We own our mineral rights and do not want a toxic pit next to our farm. After giving my wife industry lip service, Nolan’s representative proceeded to Orr, claiming, in front of people we know, that he had to deal with an organized protest in Cook, effectively calling my wife a liar. When we called to ask about his collaboration with Emmer on various bills concerning the BWCA, his D.C. staff said he hadn’t seen the bill—the same bill he now touts as an accomplishment.
How can you trust anything from a person who purposefully deceives people on one issue so critical to this region? This is something we should not tolerate regardless of political beliefs.
If one is that uncomfortable with the truth, one needs to step aside for someone who will level with constituents rather than hang on for a paycheck and taxpayer-funded pension. It is time for an independent progressive option to those who are not beholden to big money.
Linden Grove Twp., Minn.