Tense Congressional hearing brings attention to proposed sulfide mining ban near BWCA
A Congressman from Wisconsin suggested the United States must either depend on slave labor or open the stalled Twin Metals sulfide-mining project on the edge of the Boundary Waters if the nation aims to have renewable energy sources as it shifts toward a green future.
Republican Congressman Tom Tiffany, who represents Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, asked Julia Ruelle from the group Kids for the Boundary Waters if she thought slave labor should be preferred over the Twin Metals project. The tense exchange occurred May 24 during a U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
“If you knew slave labor produces turbines, those wind turbines and solar panels that everybody’s talking about, would you support getting them from China, if you knew slave labor produces those?” Tiffany asked during a House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Legislation that would essentially block certain types of mining on a large swath of federal land in the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was passionately debated during the committee hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill would ban sulfide-based mineral development along a section of Superior National Forest near the massive BWCA.
Ruelle is a college sophomore. WTIP first spoke with her when she won an essay contest in 2017 that was presented by the Ely Outfitting Company. The essay garnered Ruelle and several of her a friends a fully-outfitted trip to the Boundary Waters. A teenager at the time, Ruelle explained that she was recovering from brain cancer at the time, and that the Boundary Waters was a place of healing for her.
Prior to being questioned by the Congressman, Ruelle explained how much the BWCA continues to mean to her.
Moments later, Congressman Tiffany questioned her on the future of renewable energy and the proposed Twin Metals mine.
WTIP spoke with Rep. Tiffany May 26, two days after the committee hearing. Click here to listen to the full interview.
WTIP also spoke with Ruelle while she was at the Ronald Regan airport in Washington following the committee hearing. Click here to listen to the full interview.
To watch the full committee hearing, click here.
To hear a comprehensive report on this story, listen to the audio below.