Polymet Opponents to Canoe from Northland to St. Paul, Spreading Message

By KBJR News 1

September 21, 2012 Updated Sep 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM CDT

Aurora, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - A group of Arrowhead residents are traveling by canoe from Northern Minnesota to the State Capitol in St. Paul to raise awareness about their views on copper-nickel mining on the Iron Range.

The group calls themselves the Precious Waters Canoe Flotilla and their mission is to start conversations with people throughout the state about the controversial mines.

They got conversation Friday as they planned to launch one of their canoes on the St. Louis River.

People from several Iron Range communities were present to show their support for the proposed Polymet mine, many stating the importance of the mine in creating jobs.

"If our communities are going to survive in the future, we need those jobs," said Hoyt Lakes Mayor Marlene Pospeck.

"It benefits our region, it benefits our state and it benefits our nation," said Aurora City Council Member, Dave Lislegard.

The two groups had an impromptu discussion on the proposed copper-nickel mine.

"Nowhere has there been a mine of this type, with these methods, in the bioregion of this area that hasn't significantly polluted the watershed," said Precious Waters Canoe Flotilla member, Elli King.

"Polymet and the mining industry has proven their point and gone above and beyond and now it's time to move forward," said Lislegard during the conversation with King.

People from the Precious Waters Canoe Flotilla say they understand the need for jobs, but can't ignore the impact the mine may have on the environment.

"Everyone needs to be taken care of and jobs take care of people and clean water takes care of people. So we need to preserve both," said King.

The Precious Waters Canoe Flotilla plans to arrive in St. Paul on October 22nd, at which time they plan to hold a rally at the State Capitol.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.