Steve Giorgi
Executive Director
Phone: 218-780-8877

RAMS hearing 1940

Kawishiwi Falls - Ely MN photo by Adrian Koski 2016


Moon over Queen City photo created by Matt Herberg

RAMS delegation with Senator Klobuchar

2016 Press conference on US Forest Service - Virginia, MN

DC delegation on land withdrawal 2017

Mayor Rick Cannata Wild RIce/Sulfate rally

New bridge at night photo by P Pluswick

Hwy 53 bridge Nov 2016 photo by F Luomanen

Pike Bay Marina Lake Vermilion

Tom Rukavina at rally prior to MPCA hearing at MCC

Range Officials with Congressman Stauber

Itasca Ski Hill


Nolan in the halls 042016 Senator Franken with group 042116Senator Klobuchar with RAMS delegation 042116Nolan and me 042016Walz and me 042116


When Governor Dayton met with our board and the city of Ely on April 1st, he made it clear that other than the PolyMet project, he did not want any additional mineral mining in northeastern Minnesota.  The Governor went so far as to contact officials at the federal level at the Bureau of Land Management.  This agency is responsible for reviewing and issuing federal mineral leases on any federal land located in the State of Minnesota.  RAMS representing over 72,000 residents living and working in the Taconite Assistance Area were motivated by the Governor to take our message to Congress and the BLM to assure that they heard from the people who live, work and raise families in this region, not just Governor Dayton who we believe, does not speak for northeastern Minnesota on this issue.

Mayors Mark Skelton – Hoyt Lakes; Chuck Novak – Ely; Andrea Zupacich – Babbitt, as well as Dave Lislegard councilor from Aurora and Nancy Norr from MN Power all agreed, without hesitation, to be members of the RAMS delegation to DC.  Congressman Nolan went out of his way to arrange for a meeting with the Deputy Director of the BLM, Linda Lance, at his office and we had the pleasure of discussing many aspects of the sensitive issue of mineral mining in northeastern Minnesota in the vicinity of the BWCA, certainly within the Rainy River Watershed Basin.  Deputy Director Lance, was cordial and sincere in listening to our concerns regarding our economic challenges, our desire to diversify the economy by tapping into the largest known deposit of copper/nickel in the world found in the Duluth Complex.  The main message of the delegation was that there are legal and environmental review processes in place for any and all mining explorations/operations.  Let the process do the job of making a fact based determination on any potential mining operation.  The people who live and raise families in this region have put their faith and trust in the EPA, MPCA, DNR, US Forest Service and Army Corp of Engineers.  No one is asking for special favors or short cuts, we are simply asking that the process be followed, the rules aren’t changed and whatever the determination is, we will accept it.

Nancy Norr summed up the visit with this statement: “Our visit to Washington DC proved the importance of having strong relationships with the federal delegation. Clearly Congressman Nolan, Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken are engaged and informed about the importance of a predictable, transparent, science-based process for accessing federal mineral leases. Congressman Nolan deserves a special thank you for his tireless advocacy on mining issues with the Bureau of Land Management and the Obama Administration.”

My thanks goes out to the members of the delegation who volunteered their time to travel to DC, put up with one delayed flight after another, to represent the members of RAMS.  They did a great job for our region and we are all confident that our message was well received and heard.

Message From Director

September was a month full of activities with kids returning to school, Senate and House bonding tours and RAMS back to work with a board meeting in Hibbing.

Prior to the meeting, members of the Board of Directors took a tour of the Windows to the World new mine view overlooking the Hull Rust mine pit. This is an amazing site that all Rangers have to put on a “to do” list when visitors come to town.

At the board meeting Representative Julie Sandstede, District 6A gave a report that included highlights from the 2019 session and included insights into the 2020 bonding session. So far $5.3 BILLION dollars in projects have been requested!

Rep Sandstede’s report was appreciated by the board and was comprehensive and informative. Thanks Julie for all you do for the Range.



In other board business, the annual audit report was reviewed and approved with no financial concern noted by our auditor. A new conflict of interest policy and code of conduct policy were recommended and the board will adopt at the next meeting. The board also heard updates on PolyMet, Twin Metals, HibTac and Mesabi Metallics…good news is hard to find but we continue to support projects that meet all permitting requirements and will provide great economic boosts to our region.

The board also agreed to hold the RAMS annual meeting on December 19th, 2019. This is earlier than in the past so much work must be done in the next two months to prepare.

RAMS hosted a Range Mayors meeting in September and the mayors heard a presentation from Dean DeBeltz from Twin Metals.

Twin Metals signed a PLA (project labor agreement) with the MN Trades and Labor Council and is close to submitting a mine plan of operation to the US Forest Service. The mayors were thankful for the presentation and many good questions were answered by Dean.

October started with a bang as RAMS hosted a meeting with 8th District Congressman Pete Stauber. The meeting included RAMS board members and Iron Range Mayors from over a dozen communities.

Congressman Stauber continues to fight for the “Range way of life” in DC and was proud to testify in a committee about how we mine safely, efficiently and without environmental catastrophes. The Congressman is part of the “Problem Solver Caucus” that is made up by 48 bi-partisan representatives and was instrumental in developing a solution to end the government shutdown. Thanks so much for your time and efforts on behalf of the 8th District, Congressman Stauber.

Don’t forget to check out the latest on the RAMS website(s)
www. ; and now our new site on broadband:

To learn more about membership