We sincerely wish and hope that Gov. Mark Dayton is coming to the Iron Range on Friday with an open mind — open to realizing just how wrong was his fiat of three weeks ago to not allow any more exploration by Twin Metals on state lands where it had already received lease agreements.
If he does that, and the governor actually listens to the well-founded concerns and objections by local officials from across the Iron Range to his simply surreal decision from on high, then it will certainly be a worthwhile trip.
But if his mind is intractably entangled in the quagmire of emotional unreasonableness of preservation extremists, then it will have all been a ridiculous waste of time.
Governor, what you have managed to do with your proclamation against exploration of potential mining of copper/nickel/precious metals outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is to exploit — at a time of immense vulnerability — the very people of the Iron Range who you claim you have so strongly supported for decades.
And please, governor, don’t pat us on the head — as you did in your recent guest column — by saying you have fought so hard to get an extension of unemployment benefits for mining-related workers.
If you had really been that determined and passionate about extending the benefits, you would have called a special session last November or December on the issue and not cluttered the discussion and debate two other items.
Governor, you knew full well that economic disparities in communities of color could not be adequately addressed in a special session of a couple days, at most; and everyone was well aware there was no hurry on enhanced driver’s licenses because there was going to be an extension granted to the state by Homeland Security — which did happen and for two years.
The Iron Range received a lot of promises from the federal government when Boundary Waters Canoe Area legislation was passed in 1978 — many of which have been broken.
One of those promises was to allow mining and logging outside the Boundary Waters. And now, governor, you are trying to break that promise.
We hope you think about that seriously, governor, before you journey north Friday. You still have time to stand behind that promise to the people of the Iron Range and back away from your decree of three weeks ago.
Governor, we certainly hope you do so. It would be the right and honorable thing to do.