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Schmit Letter to the Editor 1/31/20

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To the Editor:

President Trump’s administration has waged an unprecedented war on America’s public lands, including right here in the Midwest — the beautiful and unspoiled Minnesota Boundary Waters.

The administration is fast tracking plans to allow construction of a sulfide-ore copper mine in the Rainy River Watershed, right on the doorstep of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. This mine would transform the wilderness watershed into an industrial mining zone, scar the landscape with huge excavations of rock, destruction of wetlands, leach toxic chemicals into the air and water, and endanger wildlife. Many Iowans have cherished experiences in the Boundary Waters, and we are worried by the Trump administration’s full-throttled support and fast-tracking of this dangerous mining.

Clearly, we cannot rely on this administration to protect America’s most popular wilderness, so we must elect a new president who does. The Iowa caucuses are one of our greatest opportunities to stand up for our principles, and one of the principles of the Democratic party has always been to protect our public lands. Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act in 1964, Jimmy Carter created the Boundary Waters Wilderness in 1978, and Barack Obama took action to protect this special place in 2016. Now, in 2020, it’s time for Iowa Democrats to stand up and continue the party’s legacy of putting public lands before corporate interests.

I’m excited that presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer, have pledged to protect the Boundary Waters if elected president. But with just weeks until the caucuses, Iowans deserve to know where all candidates stand. Now is the time for any candidate seeking higher office to commit to protect the Boundary Waters from polluters — our public lands, our traditions and our way of life depend on it.

Emma Schmit

Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee member, community organizer

Rockwell City

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