Senator Jen McEwen Statement Following Informational Hearing on Prove It First Legislation 

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Thursday, February 22 in the Minnesota State Capitol, Senator Jen McEwen (DFL-Duluth) joined nationally and internationally acclaimed mining experts, leaders from Minnesota’s indigenous communities, former regulators, elected officials and the Friends of the Boundary Waters to bring attention to needed legislation to protect our communities and natural resources. Prove It First legislation (SF 1416 / HF 1618) has yet to receive a hearing in either legislative chamber so Thursday’s informational hearing was the first public discussion to take place on sulfide mining in over ten years.  

Senator Jen McEwen (DFL-Duluth) issued the following statement in response to Thursday’s informational hearing:   

“My support for Prove It First legislation stems from a deep commitment to our community and waters. Copper-nickel sulfide mining is different than iron and taconite mining. It has never been conducted in Minnesota, and for good reason: the sulfide mining industry has a perfect record of pollution– specifically, water pollution. In the water-rich environments of Minnesota, this particular type of mining promises devastation to our waters, economies, and people.  

Our Prove It First legislation would simply require that the corporations applying for permitting on these projects must first do what the title of the legislation suggests: prove it first. The industry would first need to prove they can do these projects safely, by demonstrating that a similar mine has been in operation in the United States for ten years, and then closed for ten years, without causing pollution. They cannot demonstrate this, because at this point, it has never been done. 

Thursday’s informational people’s hearing is a large step in the right direction and showcases the need for our legislators to consider the industry of copper-nickel sulfide mining and the devastating effects these proposed projects would inevitably have on our state’s people, economy, and waters. Too often, profit-driven corporations– often with a powerful international reach and not centered in Minnesota at all– are allowed to exploit us, our environment and communities. I believe that protecting our communities and Minnesota’s waters is our duty as elected officials, and I am hopeful and committed to seeing this commonsense legislation formally heard and passed into law for all Minnesotans.” 

A recording of the hearing can be viewed here.

Jen McEwen represents Senate District 8 which covers the community of Duluth.

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