Local musher leaves Duluth for Capitol

Frank Moe of Grand Marais, will leave Duluth today behind a team of dogs pulling for the state Capitol. His sled will carry petitions signed by about 10,000 people concerned by the threat of water pollution due to sulfide mining near the BWCAW.

The petitions call on the Legislature stop plans to develop copper-nickel mines in northern Minnesota, unless contamination concerns involving sulfides and heavy metals can be satisfactorily addressed.

Moe and his dog team sledded into Duluth’s Lester Park shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday, where they were welcomed by a crowd of 100-plus like-minded opponents of copper-nickel mining.

PolyMet, the company first in line to develop nonferrous mining in Northeastern Minnesota, shares the same concern for protecting water quality, according to Brad Moore, the company’s executive vice president for public, governmental and environmental affairs.

PolyMet has pointed out that the rock in the proposed mine area is unusually low in sulfur for a copper deposit. PolyMet also contends that it can take precautions when digging and storing rock and by using new technology to minimize acid runoff while treating any runoff that occurs.

Despite assurances, opponents of nonferrous mining have stepped up their campaign.

Supporters will gather once more in Duluth from 9-10 a.m. today to wish Moe and fellow musher Adam Harju, safe travels on the final leg of their journey. The send-off will occur at the Willard Munger Inn.