Political and environmental activist Winona LaDuke opposes the proposed PolyMet mine for northern Minnesota.
“There’s no safe way to do what they want to do,” LaDuke told The UpTake before a Stop PolyMet rally on Tuesday. “You can’t make a safe mine.”
Environmentalists are concerned that the mining of heavy metals PolyMet proposes for northern Minnesota will cause long term environmental damage including residue that will leech from the site hundreds of years after the mining is finished.
“There is not a mining waste fairy,” says LaDuke. “I don’t want mercury in my water.”
Unions are supporting the mine which is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reviewing. Supporters such as former Rep. Tom Rukavina say the metals are needed to make computers, cell phones and other high tech devices. Rukavina also says the mine will provide jobs and a needed economic boost to the slowly recovering Minnesota Iron Range economy.
LaDuke disagrees saying the job estimates are “exaggerated” and the mining is not crucial. “We won’t freeze in the dark or starve if we can’t have these mines.