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Locals react to Trump’s executive order focused on mining

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ELY, MN -- President Donald Trump announced a new executive order at Wednesday night's rally in Duluth.

It specifically cuts down on what Trump called "unnecessary" permitting delays for companies like Twin Metals.

The company is looking to build an underground copper-nickel mine near the Boundary Waters.

Federal and state agencies are reviewing their design and possible impact on the surrounding environment.

Copper-nickel mining supporters hope this latest order is a step forward.

"Anything that works to streamline the process and to provide incentives for companies to both develop and maybe develop and process here can only be positive and helpful," said Frank Ongaro, Executive Director for Mining Minnesota.

He adds it could also bring an economic benefit to the Iron Range.

"Rather than being dependent on foreign countries for the minerals we have right here in Minnesota," he said.

When signing the order, President Trump declared supporting mines a national emergency.

Those with 'Save the Boundary Waters,' an environmental organization opposed to Twin Metals' plan highly disagree.

National Chair Becky Rom said, "The national emergency we're in right now is COVID-19. It's not that we need more smelters."

Mining officials more details on the new order are expected to come soon but regulations will still be met.

Ongaro added, "Keep in mind there's no magic bullet. Every company, every project is still going to have to demonstrate that it meets all the state and federal air and water quality standards for it to move forward."

Something Rom is afraid will destroy Minnesota's national treasure.

She adds, "The Boundary Waters will be permanently damaged and we'll never get it back the way it is now, so we can't afford any other outcome."

Congressman Pete Stauber who has been a key supporter of Minnesota mining called this a monumental step for Minnesota miners.

“COVID-19 has further shined a light on the deficiency of our critical minerals supply chain and highlights the urgency in which we must expand domestic mining. Now more than ever, we need Minnesota’s miners as we work to eliminate dependence on unreliable nations that utilize forced child labor and environmentally destructive practices for goods that we, in the United States, use in our everyday life. I applaud this Administration for acting on my request and taking this monumental step towards empowering Minnesota’s miners to responsibly source the resources needed for our national security, infrastructure, and manufacturing needs.”

Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08)

Stauber said COVID-19 has shined a light on what he called the deficiency of our critical minerals supply chain and the urgent need to expand domestic mining.

Stauber hopes this new order will stop the U.S. from depending on countries using forced child labor and environmentally destructive practices.

Those with 'Save the Boundary Waters' said they will continue to work with legislators to put a permanent end to mining in the BWCA.

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Emma Quinn

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