Conversation with U.S. Senator Smith
Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for a host of Iron Range elected officials, labor leaders and chamber representatives who were in attendance at the meeting hosted by RAMS and our special guest; U.S. Senator Tina Smith. The Senator agreed to meet and discuss a strategy to find a pathway to move the PolyMet Land exchange legislation to passage. Many in the audience were very disappointed that the land exchange legislation, crafted and passed by Congressmen Nolan and Emmer in the House was not included in the Omnibus spending bill in early April. This seemed to be the best route to have the bill included, but unfortunately and despite the efforts of both of our Senators, it was not included.
Senator Smith committed to working with us and exploring multiple options including using her position on the Ag committee, along with Senator Klobuchar as a route, or working to include it in the NDAA – National Defense Appropriation Act. All of this work will take time, the Congress is not in session during summer months and the Senate does not address single, stand-alone bills. After the meeting with Senator Smith, our group held a conference call with Senator Amy Klobuchar who was unable to attend the meeting. Senator Klobuchar indicated she had a conversation with Senate Minority Leader Schumer the previous day and expressed her strong support for getting this bill included in another large bill during the session. She will be speaking with Senator McCain, who chairs the Defense committee and would play a significant role in allowing the land exchange to be attached to the NDAA.
The Minnesota DNR cannot issue a “permit to mine” even after their review process is completed, which should be later this summer, without the land exchange at the Federal level being completed. Keep in mind, the land exchange was approved during the Obama administration and Congressman Nolan passed his bill HR 3115 in late November 2017.
NEWEST MEMBERS TO JOIN RAMS:
Cherry Township – thanks Ron Pittman!
City of McKinley – Welcome to RAMS. Thanks Mayor Nygaard. City of Aitkin.
The Range Association of Municipalities & Schools is always looking to add to the membership base. The RAMS motto: “ONE RANGE – ONE VOICE” becomes even stronger with every new member. Already in 2018, RAMS has been pleased to announce the addition of six new Corporate Members:
Northeast Technical Services (NTS)
VIC’s Crane & Heavy Haul, Inc.
RMS Road Machinery Supplies, Inc.
Arcelor/Mittal Minorca Mine Inc.
RAMS has worked with these companies on issue that are impacting the Range such as wild rice/sulfate standards, promotion of mineral exploration and the continued support for “our way of life” on the Iron Range. RAMS is grateful to these companies for their support and membership, and encourages your community, or business to consider becoming a member. Contact Steve @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
Charles Baribeau – Virginia City Council & RAMS Vice President
RAMS as an organization advocates for issues of regional importance, such as modifying the wild rice/sulfate standard to afford local municipalities an affordable treatment process based on science with proven results. RAMS supports allowing mining exploration and submission of a mine plan that shall then be reviewed by the EPA, MPCA, DNR, and must meet or exceed environmental standards before being permitted. This should apply to precious mineral mining not just iron ore mining. RAMS also advocates and supports collaboration by school districts on the Range to truly enhance educational experiences and opportunities for generations of Rangers to provide them a pathway to successful and prosperous futures.