Thursday, March 8, 2012

Don't blame Dems for GOP mine bill disaster

Blame belongs to those who didn't compromise

Amid the failure to compromise on conditions for a decent mining bill and the news that the company involved is abandoning the project altogether, it's only natural that the two sides involved in the political struggle over the bill would cast blame on one another.

But let's assess that situation deeper. Republicans are upset that all 16 Democratic senators (plus moderate-Republican Sen. Dale Schultz) didn't vote to accept their bill, which was written in part by Gogebic Taconite itself, the company that would have carried out the actual mining (maybe?). Their bill, it should be observed, would have relaxed environmental standards and loosened the ability of citizens to voice their concerns or challenge decisions that the company would make that would affect their lives.

On the Democratic side, things are equally frustrating. The Democratic/Schultz compromise bill would have made reforms as well, but also would have preserved a process acceptable to the people, keeping in line values of environmental respect and citizen involvement.

What's most frustrating of all is that the compromise bill had the 17 votes needed to pass in the Senate. The only reason it didn't pass was because Republican leaders refused to let it stand for a full-chamber vote.

With this in mind, who is truly to blame here? The party that had a bipartisan plan with the backing of a majority number of duly-elected legislators? Or the party that controlled the Senate but had a minority number of lawmakers refusing to let any legislation pass that wasn't their own?

The Republicans would like to have you blame Democrats for not accepting their own bill. But the Democrats had a bill with bipartisan and majority support, ready to pass and put people to work. It's not the Democrats' fault that Republicans couldn't budge, not even a little, on the issue.


  1. You got it 100% WRONG! The so called Dem compromise was DOA and they know it because the mining company said they could not accept it. In exchange for their $1.5 billion investment here, they needed an assurance that they would be able to continue with the project as opposed to what happened witht he Crandall mine. That is not unreasonable. Nobody can put that kind of money at risk only to have everything frozen.

    Moreover the environmental concerns were completely invalid. There are really strict federal laws enforced by the EPA and you can already see them in practice in the ironhead region of Minnesota. They do work.

    There was no valid reason for turning this down. It was really needed and would have helped the very people that Democrats claim to be speaking for. You blew it big time, and REAL people will be hurting because of this. I am ashamed of what has occured here.

  2. "The so called Dem compromise was DOA and they know it because the mining company said they could not accept it."

    I was unaware that mining companies have veto power over laws passed by the legislature.

  3. They don't. They had said that without said agreement they would not come. What is so damn hard about simple stuff like this to understand?