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Mineral Decision by US Department of Interior Undermines Good Jobs and Climate Goals

Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2023) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today:

LIUNA is deeply disappointed by the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to withdraw 225,000 acres of federal lands and minerals in Northern Minnesota from consideration for mining exploration for 20 years. The mining ban will directly kill hundreds of union jobs building and maintaining the planned Twin Metals copper and nickel mining project.

Copper and nickel are used in the building of solar panels, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and other renewable energy systems. The ban on copper and nickel mining in Northern Minnesota will undermine efforts to transition to a greener economy.

The United States has rich reserves of minerals that are crucial to meeting our climate change goals. LIUNA strongly supports the responsible development of these resources here in our nation by skilled and experienced union members rather than importing materials from unfriendly nations with poor labor protections.

There is a robust permitting framework already in place to ensure that mining can be conducted safely and with the highest of environmental standards. The Twin Metals project has already undergone an extensive federal and state regulatory process including environmental review. In revoking mining permits for Twin Metals, the Department of Interior is in contradiction with its own prior decisions. This is senseless and capricious. We need to reform the decision-making process to better serve the public and protect the livelihoods of the hard-working men and women of LIUNA.