This article is a perfect illustration of the Star Tribune running interference for the DFL. Initially, the article's title was "Minn's mining laws will protect public and environment, top official says." Shortly thereafter, the title was changed to "PolyMet legislative hearing expected to be packed."
The DFL is on the verge of a civil war between the blue collar miners of the Iron Range and the environmental elitist Metrocrats. If a person told a Metrocrat that Minnesota's environmental regulations would protect the environment if PolyMet becomes reality, that person would be called a heretic by the Twin Cities elitist.
It's interesting that the content of the article didn't appear to change. Here's the opening of the Strib's article:
Minnesota’s top mining regulators assured legislators Tuesday that the state laws that are designed to protect future generations from the unpredictable costs that could come from decades of mining pollution are among the strongest in the nation.
Speaking at a packed and frequently testy public hearing, Jess Richards, director of lands and minerals for the Department of Natural Resources, said the state’s laws “are robust” and designed to protect taxpayers now and in the future.
The DNR is the lead agency on the environmental review of PolyMet Mining Corp.’s proposed $650 million copper mine near Hoyt Lakes. Richards was the star witness in an unusual public hearing on the debate regarding what would be the state’s first copper nickel mine, one that represents two divergent views of Minnesota’s future.
Richards said mining regulators are in the process of reviewing some 200 mines around the country that have sophisticated financial agreements known as “financial assurance” that ensure environmental calamities, defaults and prolonged water treatment will be paid for by mine owners and operators, not taxpayers.
That's interesting from the standpoint that the Minnesota DNR is essentially telling environmental organizations that their protests are without merit. This testimony didn't help the environmentalists' cause:
Laura Skaer, executive director of the American Exploration & Mining Association in Tacoma, Wash., told legislators that over the past 30 to 40 years, financial assurance has become a routine and expected cost in the mining industry. It’s required of all mines on federal lands. Of the 3,300 projects that have been built since 1990, not one has needed to tap into its financial assurance, she said.
The Twin Cities Metrocrats' only weapon is fear itself. The DNR's testimoney indicates that Minnesota's environmental regulations are sufficient. Ms. Skaer's testimony indicates that the precious metals mining companies have been good environmental citizens.
That's the last thing the Star Tribune and the Metrocrat environmentalists want people to find out. That's likely why the Star Tribune changed the title of its article.