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Mon Jan 4, 2021, 11:49 PM

What Joe Biden's Cabinet picks mean for northern Minnesota's Twin Metals mining project

In 2016, the administration of Barack Obama halted a controversial mining project near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. President Trump revived it once he took office.

What will President-elect Joe Biden do? Since his campaign for president began, Biden hasn’t said anything about the Twin Metals Minnesota proposal, but two of Biden’s Cabinet picks may offer the best hint yet.

The president-elect chose Tom Vilsack, who was secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Obama, to return to the job. The USDA oversees the Forest Service, which manages the Superior National Forest, where Twin Metals wants to mine. Biden also tapped U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to lead the Interior Department, which controls the mineral deposits in the forest.

The moves were celebrated by those who want to stop Twin Metals and taken as a bad sign by the project’s supporters. Haaland and Vilsack must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, but U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a St. Paul Democrat from Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies — which oversees both the Forest Service and the Department of Interior — said the choices “reconfirm” her belief that Biden “will do the right thing by the environment” and protect public lands by blocking the copper-nickel mine.

Read more: https://www.minnpost.com/greater-minnesota/2021/01/what-joe-bidens-cabinet-picks-mean-for-northern-minnesotas-twin-metals-mining-project/

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