Lewis Demands Smith Clarify Position on McCollum’s Latest Assault on Mining

Lewis Demands Smith Clarify Position on McCollum’s Latest Assault on Mining

July 20, 2020

EAGAN, Minn. — U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis released the following statement calling for Senator Tina Smith to denounce Congresswoman Betty McCollum’s latest attempt at banning mining in Northeastern Minnesota.

“Urban liberals continue to make it painfully clear how they feel about our Iron Range communities. During a time where we need to get our economy moving again with good paying jobs—like those in mining, energy, and logging—Democrats are desperately trying to shut down our economic engine.

It should come as no surprise that Congresswoman Betty McCollum is leading the latest attack on the Northland way of life. Earlier this year, McCollum brought forward legislation that would outlaw new safe and responsible copper-nickel mines. And she’s not stopping there. Now she is coming after iron ore mining by trying to sneak a provision into an appropriations bill that would ban new iron ore mines and hinder future operations in even existing mines. This full-frontal assault on our mining communities is particularly unbelievable given the difficulties Minnesotans are facing due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Of course, this wouldn’t just impact mining communities. The city of Duluth has been squeezed by the lockdown, and the best way to get Duluth moving again is to get the Range moving again. According to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, iron ore makes up 60 percent of the total tonnage leaving the Port of Duluth. Banning iron ore mining would be a massive hit to all of Northeastern Minnesota.

Of all the rare earth minerals we import, 80 percent comes from China. No wonder politicians like McCollum and Senator Tina Smith get so much corporate PAC money—they do the bidding of those multinationals who’ve outsourced to China. Tina Smith needs quit playing to her urban base and the donor class and to look out for her constituents for once.  I’m calling on Tina Smith to stand up to McCollum, denounce this provision, and stop making Northlanders feel as though their way of life and livelihoods are constantly under assault simply because she feels like scoring cheap political points.”