Expect Iron Rangers out in force at Tuesday night’s hearing in Virginia, Minnesota on the U-S Forest Service’s plan to withdraw mineral leases in northern Minnesota. Opponents warn proposed copper-nickel mining could pollute the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce President Lory Fedo strongly disagrees. “To even think that we would want to hurt the area that we live in is kinda crazy thinking,” she says. Iron Range groups boycotted last week’s hearing in Saint Paul, calling it a charade allowing mining critics to stuff the comment box.
Fedo says given state requirements, the project will be done safely for the people in the area and the environment. She says the project will make mining safer not only for Minnesota, but globally. “It will be a mine that people can look to and say, hey, we did it right in Minnesota,” Fedo says. Opponents say there’s no way to guarantee that highly acidic effluent won’t leak into the surrounding watershed over time.