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PolyMet pollution could ruin Indian culture, tourism

It is shameful elected state and federal legislative members seem to be in collusion with PolyMet to create 360 polluting mining jobs. PolyMet’s proposed mining activity definitely endangers Chippewa Indian spiritual culture and wild rice.

Sixty years ago, a scientist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources showed that if there are more than 10 milligrams per liter of sulfides in water wild rice doesn’t grow. A state legislator wants to use precious taxpayer dollars to study the same problem.

Mining by PolyMet threatens the multimillion-dollar tourist, resort and casino industries. These industries need to get actively involved in stopping PolyMet. Minnesota is tourist land, not yesteryear mining land. This is where the tax dollars are!

The mining industry has the Mesabi nugget expansion development, which has created hundreds of jobs.

No one talks about the Indian casinos, which employ 12,800 people statewide while also creating thousands of part-time satellite jobs. Casinos saved the state of Minnesota from employment depression. About 70 percent of their employees are non-Indian. The Indian casinos create many jobs that pay state and federal income taxes. Additionally, they give the state of Minnesota billions of dollars through the compact system.

We talk about big government, but I believe we need to reorganize state governments. There seems to be much duplication of paperwork and many departments that do the same things.

We must not let PolyMet mining pollute the people’s land and water via the discharge of toxic chemical like sulfides.

Warner B. Wirta, Duluth

Published April 29, 2011, 12:00 AM in Duluth News Tribune

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