One thing is clear, when the country still awaits the final vote count, and social media, talking heads and newspaper columnists scramble to decipher the tea leaves and what the result means: Minnesotans want politicians to advocate for the climate.
Minnesotans have been galvanized in recent years by significant environmental scandals, including the risks of two planned copper-sulfide mining, PolyMet and Twin Metals. Nearly 70% of the 54 candidates supported by the Boundary Waters Action Network’s Friends of the Boundary Waters Action Network because of their unwavering advocacy for Boundary Waters and safe water won.
It’s a much spoken about topic
In Minnesota, the environmental movement has always been solid, but in the August DFL primaries, electorally, the bellwether really came when Jen McEwen, who was unabashedly pro-clean water and opposed both the PolyMet and Twin Metals schemes, beat out a staunch supporter of Erik Simonson, the copper-sulfide mining industry.
Although Republicans have generally opposed tackling environmental concerns, the DFL has experienced internal divisions between proponents and opponents of copper-sulfide mining. This has led many lawmakers around the state to waffle on the issue. Indeed, it’s a dilemma everyone would like to stop.
That’s been updated.
There were many within the DFL who felt it was a political duty to take such a firm stance. Such worries should be laid to bed. This referendum shows that it’s a winning problem to secure the Border Waters from copper-sulfide extraction.
It wasn’t only a win for McEwen.
Friends of the Boundary Waters Action Network screened and questioned various state office candidates in the run-up to November, effectively supporting 54 candidates who were unabashedly pro-clean water, pro-Boundary Waters and ready to take a firm stand on the subject. 37 of those 54 endorsements have earned their elections.
What’s more of the 10 candidates that we have defined as crucial and close contests, 8 have won.
Voters have indicated that they are profoundly worried about the Boundary Waters’ future and about shielding our safe water from the copper-sulfide mining hazard.
The political bombast and narrow economic vision linked to the opening of these poisonous mines is dismissed. They have dismissed multinational mining conglomerates’ tired falsehoods and empty claims of track records of environmental destruction and misuse of labour.
Since voters approved the Clean Water, Property & Legacy Amendment in 2008, no major environmental measure has been passed in Minnesota for over a decade. Minnesotans are eager for action at a moment when safe, fresh water is becoming a global shortage, and following four years of the Trump administration waging an all-out attack on natural lands and wild spaces.
They are ready to enact legislation that preserves our environmental resources, supports the wilderness gem, the Border Waters, and offers legal safeguards against the hazards of copper-sulfide extraction for those they have selected.