Steve Giorgi
Executive Director
Phone: 218-780-8877
Email: SGiorgi@ramsmn.org

Image "Hull Rust" by Amy Flanigan

RAMS hearing 1940

Scheuring Speed Sports Aurora, MN photo by Paul Pluswick

Commissioner Mark Phillips 2015 Annual RAMS Meeting Vice President Jim Fisher /Director Steve Giorgi

Kawishiwi Falls - Ely MN photo by Adrian Koski 2016

Cuyuna

Tower Airport photo by Adrian Koski

Moon over Queen City photo created by Matt Herberg

RAMS delegation with Senator Klobuchar

2016 Press conference on US Forest Service - Virginia, MN

Mayor Novak Ely Whiteside Park

Pioneer Mine Ely MN photo by Adrian Koski

USFS HEARING IN DULUTH – MARCH 16TH

This hearing is in regards to the withdrawal of 240,000 acres of federal land leases in the Superior National Forest.  Included in this withdrawal are an additional 190,000 acres of state and private leases that include 95,000 acres of school trust fund lands!  We cannot allow this arbitrary action by the USFS and BLM to stand unchallenged.  Please show up at the DECC for this hearing which starts at 5:00 pm and runs until 7:30 pm.

If you are unable to attend, go to the Twin Metals website and fill out the form letter to be sent to the Forest Service opposing the land withdrawal from future mining.

http://www.twin-metals.com/

NEWEST MEMBERS TO JOIN RAMS:

RAMS has made it a priority to grow our membership this year. When we promote our association using our motto; “ONE RANGE – ONE VOICE” we want to be as big and as powerful as we have ever been and you can help us achieve that goal and make our voice even stronger.  The newest members are CLINTON TOWNSHIP,  LONE PINE TOWNSHIP AND NORTHLAND LEARNING CENTER on the public sector side and POLYMET; MESABI METALLICS, LAKEHEAD CONTRACTORS, LARKIN & HOFFMAN and the IRON MINING ASSOCIATION on the corporate membership side.  The board of directors and I will be working on new memberships throughout  the year.  If you have any questions please call or email me.  218-780-8877 or sgiorgi@ramsmn.org.   On behalf of the board, I thank you for joining our ranks.  “ONE RANGE – ONE VOICE “ 

Fostering economic development across Minnesota’s Iron Range

One Range… One Voice

Ensuring the voices of our Range cities, townships, and schools will be heard on the issues of economic enhancement and quality of life.

Serving Cities, Townships and Schools since 1939.

The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) was created in 1939 by the joining together of the Range Civic Association and the Range Municipalities Committee to promote legislation beneficial to its membership.
The main function of RAMS is to monitor proposed State and Federal legislation and determine how it may affect Association member units of government. The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools (RAMS) works closely with the Iron Range Delegation, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) , and area economic development entities to further community development and quality of life for all member units.


Hoyt Lakes, MN Mayor

Mark Skelton

 

Message From the Board

As a member of the RAMS board of directors, I find the RAMS organization a great asset to my duties as mayor of a small Iron Range community.  The RAMS motto of “ONE RANGE – ONE VOICE”, speaks volumes for what RAMS represents. RAMS is an organization that brings together our area school boards, townships and cities helping us collaborate and cooperate on issues that pertain to us as a region.  As a small city in this region of the state, I can that we appreciate all of the efforts set forth by the RAMS’ organization.

Message From Director

2017 – More Challenges for the Region, or Opportunities?

November 8, 2016 is certainly one of those dates that will long be remembered by many Americans.  Whether your political beliefs had you on the winning side, or on the losing side of the political aisle, one thing we can all agree on, few if any us truly believed the results prior to all the votes being counted.
On a local level, the loss of Representative Tom Anzelc may have been anticipated as his opponent, Sandy Layman was formidable, has name recognition and strong party backing, but the defeat of Senator Tom Saxhaug was not predicted, even by the most savvy political pundits.  Be that as it may, change was in the wind that November night, and it blew stronger and stronger across the country, until it swept in the biggest change of all, Donald J. Trump as our new president with a conservative majority I both the House and the Senate.  Minnesota also saw the majority shift in our State Legislature with the Republicans taking over the majority (by the slimmest of margins -1 seat) in the State Senate, thus setting up a repeat of Governor Dayton’s first years as Governor with both the House and Senate majorities held by Republicans and he a sitting DFL Governor.

We can all remember that the 2015 legislative session ended in futility with neither a bonding bill, or a tax bill being passed.  Sitting on a surplus of well over a BILLION dollars, the parties could not compromise on a much needed bonding bill that would have created thousands of construction jobs, provided much needed improvements to our roads, bridges and college campus facilities and a tax bill that would have increased the LGA formula and provided relief to our struggling communities and local governments.   A summer of talk and rhetoric about a special session to address those failures resulted in nothing but fodder for the election cycle, false promises and anxiety for those facing uncertainty with their health insurance premiums and coverage.

At the Federal level, while many people were overwhelmed by the election of Donald Trump as our next President, President Obama was busy with executive orders and pardons and farewell tours.  Unfortunately for us in Northeastern Minnesota, under his watch two of his agencies, the USFS (Forest Service) and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) requested a withdrawal of 240,000 acres in and around the BWCA and recommended that a new usage analysis for the acreage be undertaken.  A public comment session was started and one public hearing was scheduled for March 16 in Duluth, with a second hearing “somewhere on the Range” promised.  Depending upon the outcome of this process, there could well be a 20 year moratorium on land use put into effect over the withdrawn acreage.  In conjunction with this decision, the USFS denied the renewal of land leases for the Twin Metals project, not based on science or new environmental findings, but based on politics, and emotions.

So once again we are at a crossroads in battling the forces that are seemingly working against us in our efforts to expand our economic base, to diversify, to secure jobs for future generations that allow families to stay on the Range and raise families and repopulate our dwindling numbers of millennials.  When out of St. Paul, a letter is sent to President Elect Trump, from House Speaker, Kurt Daudt, imploring him to overturn this devastating decision by the previous administration!  Also a joint letter signed by 60 legislators from both parties, was also sent to the incumbent department heads requesting an immediate reversal of the decision on the withdrawal.  Could this be the issue that leads to a more cooperative legislature?  Could division on the Range, actually end up being the lightening rod that helps bridge a divide in St. Paul and result in a positive legislative session?  Perhaps this is an opportunity, not a roadblock for the region.  I do have to admit, I must express my disappointment in noting that not a single representative from the Duluth contingency signed the joint letter.

We have all been witnesses to the actions of President Trump since his inauguration.  Like him or hate him, or perhaps fear him, he has been a man of action.  Unfortunately, some of these actions have created distractions that have delayed the confirmation of his Cabinet and therefore any action that we could hope for on overturning the withdrawal decision has also been put on hold.

Yes, the election results of November 8, 2017, will certainly be something I will remember for the rest of my days, the opportunity it created may just be an unforeseen but tangible benefit to the Range.  Once again, all that RAMS has asked for is to allow the science and strict environmental review process to make the determination on whether or not a new mining project, or any industrial enterprise should be allowed to proceed and not politics, emotions or rhetoric.

 



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