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Are environmentalists starting a liberal civil war?

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The DFL has controlled the Iron Range for 50 years. Apparently, the DFL's happy family is creeping towards outright civil war:

The DFL political establishment on the Range is virtually unanimous in its support, which also has the backing of many in the construction trades, another key DFL constituency. But the controversial project faces stiff and well-coordinated opposition from environmental groups and many DFL lawmakers.

“Clearly this opens up the clash and conflict between those DFLers who value the environment first, versus those who value jobs first. We will all have to answer the question, ‘Whose side are you on?’” Anzelc said. “I think this issue has the potential to divide the DFL convention this summer. The table is set for Democrats running for statewide office to have a real challenging time of it in the ’14 elections.”

The DFL can't afford to start losing votes on the Iron Range. In 2010, Gov. Dayton picked Yvonne Prettner-Solon of Duluth to be his running mate. It was a shrewd move because it helped him win the DFL primary with a strong performance on the Range. If not for Prettner-Solon's place on the ticket, we'd be talking Gov. Emmer running for re-election, not Gov. Dayton.

How likely is it that the DFL will have to deal with a civil war? Based on this statement, the likelihood is fairly high:

Marlene Pospeck, a former mayor of Hoyt Lakes and a longtime DFL activist, noted that strong turnout on the Range has been critical to many DFL victories in the past, including Gov. Dayton’s narrow victories in the DFL primary and general election in 2010.

“The people in St. Paul need to be aware that if they want to be re-elected, we on the Iron Range hold one of the keys,” Pospeck said.

This isn't confined to Minnesota either. When "The People" protested the Keystone XL Pipeline project in Mark Maki's Houston home, they sent the unmistakable message that they're passionately opposed to the project. The Keystone XL Pipeline project has the potential to do nationally what the PolyMet mining project might do in Minnesota.

Both projects pit militant environmentalist organizations against construction unions. Neither group is known for backing down. Both factions have a history of playing hardball. Since they're 180 degrees opposed to each other, the likelihood of a fight seems rather high.

If a civil war breaks out within the DFL, they'll have a tough election year this year. If a civil war breaks out within the Democratic Party, it could cause lots of problems for Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama.

At this point, it's anyone's guess if this ticking time bomb will go off. Odds are, though, that it will.

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