Two of the DFL candidates running to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in Minnesota's 8th District held press conferences Wednesday to tout their support for copper-nickel and taconite mining.
Rick Nolan unveiled a proposal Wednesday to create a federal research laboratory focusing on mining technology and the environment. He calls for a $250 million annual appropriation.
Nolan said it could eventually employ 1,200 people in northeastern Minnesota, which sits on huge deposits of copper and nickel.
"To move forward without having a careful and thorough examination, the kind of basic and applied research that is necessary to do this and do it right, would be a tragic mistake," he said.
Just before Nolan's announcement, fellow DFLer Jeff Anderson said he supports a recent bill introduced by Cravaack to streamline the permitting process for projects like the controversial Polymet mine.
"These are real jobs that could happen now if we changed this permitting process on a federal level," said Anderson, a former Duluth City Council member. "I'm calling on my opponents in this race to say that they in fact support mining and support these projects."
The third DFL candidate in the race, Tarryl Clark, issued a statement saying the 8th District should "lead the world in 21st century mining that creates good-paying jobs while remaining responsible stewards. I have always supported an efficient and effective permitting process which guarantees protections for our workers, our water and our air."
A statement from Cravaack said the congressman has "worked to reduce excessive and duplicative red tape blocking economic development and job growth."