SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, POLYMET, AND GRAY WOLVES

Following you'll see where Senator Amy Klobuchar has worked tirelessly for years trying to push through the Polymet mine and remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List and in doing so has used her position in congress to also try and strip citizens of their right to judicial review over wolves and mining. 


According to the Endangered Species Act

DEFINITIONS

Sec 3 (5)(A) The term "critical habitat" for a threatened or endangered species means - 
(i) the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of this Act, on which are found those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of this Act, upon determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. 

Sec 3 (6) The term "endangered species" means any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all of a significant portion of its range. 

Sec 3 (20) The term "threatened species" means any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Below is a map showing the gray wolves historic range, where they exist today, and where suitable habitat still remains.

Map courtesy of Cur Bradley/Center for Biological Diversity


DETERMINATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES AND THREATENED SPECIES

Sec 4(A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

Sec (B) over utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes

Sec 4(E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence

*Endangered Species Act

***
GRAY WOLVES

In December 2010 Senator Amy Klobuchar wanted to speed up wolf delisting. 

"Citing wolf predation in Minnesota, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is calling on the federal government to expedite the delisting of the Great Lakes gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act."

Klobuchar Wants to Speed of Wolf Delisting in Minnesota

"Klobuchar called on Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to expedite the delisting of the western Great Lakes gray wolf in a letter sent earlier this week.  The Department of the Interior stated in a response letter today that the expedited process Klobuchar pushed for will result in the removal of the gray wolf by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the end of 2011."

Klobuchar's Actions Lead to Expedited Removal of the Gray Wolf

In April 2011 Senator Amy Klobuchar talked about being in favor of wolf delisting on her website:

"Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says gray wolves should be removed from the Endangered Species List."

Klobuchar Says Gray Wolves Should Be Removed from Protected List

"December 2011 "Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., pushed the Department of the Interior to delist the wolf before others in Congress took matters into their own hands by initiating legislation that would have forced the Great Lakes gray wolf off the endangered species list."

Gray Wolf Protection Ending

ON JANUARY 27, 2012 GRAY WOLVES IN THE GREAT LAKES LOST FEDERAL PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE SPECIES WAS RETURNED TO THE STATES.

Despite the fact that gray wolves DID NOT meet the criterial for delisting and that the federal government's own documents prove wolf predation IS NOT a significant issue, Senator Amy Klobuchar still pushed for delisting.

Government Data Confirm that Wolves Have a Negligible Effect on U.S. Cattle and Sheep Industries 

Following delisting the state opened a wolf trapping and hunting season and between 2012 and the end of 2014, 922 GRAY WOLVES WERE SLAUGHTERED IN MINNESOTA. In 2013 the Humane Society of the United States along with other groups filed a lawsuit to restore federal protection of gray wolves. "The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, said the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list threatens the animals' recovery throughout most of their historic range."

Animal Welfare Groups Sue to End Midwest Wolf Hunt


On December 19, 2014 U.S. District Court Judge Beryl. A. Howell returned management of the wolves in the western Great Lakes states to the federal government citing several reasons that included the following:

"The Federal Wildlife Services' explanation of the Final Rule is arbitrary and capricious for neglecting to explain why the portion of the historical range no longer occupied by the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes DPS is no longer a significant portion of the species' range."

"Despite the threats to the western Great Lakes DPS from disease and takings by people, the agency reaches the conclusion that these myriad threats do not render the wolves in the western Great Lakes DPS threatened or endangered. Such conclusions run contrary to the evidence before the agency and is, therefore, arbitrary and capricious."

Judge Howell Decision

Mike Phillips - Montana State Senator, Biologist, Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and an expert on the Endangered Species Act had this to say in 2015 following Judge Howell's decision. 

"The gray wolf still only occupies about 15 percent of its original range.  There are still great big chunks of the continental U.S. that support extensive tracks of suitable habitat that remains wolfless."

"Some would say the law requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to look at those places too.  U.S. wolf recovery has been done piecemeal - in the Great Lakes States, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, with some thinking about the Northeast.  The USFWS has avoided a systematic nationwide approach that dismisses a "significant portion of wolf range" approach.  The recovery has been implemented regionally, and that's not what the law calls for. Highly suitable expanses on the western half of Colorado could provide habitat for great recovery efforts. Why are some pieces of the puzzle being ignored?"

Gray Wolves Listed Again, For Better or Worse

Following two years (2015-2016) of federal protection of wolves in the Great Lakes region Amy Klobuchar once again makes a move to delist wolves but this time she wants to strip the citizens right to judicial review.
In 2017 Sen. Amy Klobuchar became a co-signer on the Sen. John Barrasso bill S.1514 - Help for Wildlife Act which quickly was called The War on Wolves Act by environmental groups. 

War on Wolves Act


"The HELP for Wildlife Act is a Trojan horse and should be opposed" said Professor John Vucetich of Michigan Tech Univ., who has devoted extensive research to gray wolves in America and Wilderness Areas such as Yellowstone Park. "It includes some positive provisions but its most important effect would be to undermine the Endangered Species Act and subvert the conservation of wolves."

Proposed Legislation Would Jeapardize Wolves


The NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council) stated "A misleadingly titled bill containing detrimental anti wildlife provisions that would harm gray wolves and the Endangered Species Act more broadly."

Bipartisan Efforts Bring Attacks on Wolves to a Head

The bill doesn't just call for wolf delisting in the Great Lakes it includes stripping a citizen of their legal right to judicial review.

To see text, click on image or read it HERE




According to the Endangered Species Act citizens are allowed to seek the federal court's examination of a federal agency's actions. "Federal courts can review whether the particular federal action is justified given the administrative record available to the federal agency making the action. Actions such as listing a species, rejecting a public petition to list a species, delisting a species, and keeping a species off the federal list are actions that can be reviewed in federal court."

Endangered Species Act and Judicial Review
Endangered Species Act 

In addition to this new wolf delisting bill by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) & Sen. John Barrasso (R) there were also several republican senators making a move to gut the Endangered Species Act. 

Immediately after the bill was introduced the Endangered Species Coalition organized several groups from each U.S. state to fly into Washington DC to speak with their state Senators about the need to maintain protection of the Endangered Species Act. Three individuals from Minnesota met with Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her staff on June 29th and could not get any assurance that Klobuchar would protect the ESA even though the question was asked directly. 


One of the most recent bills to gut the Endangered Species Act came from Sen. John Barrasso in 2018.

"So far in this congress Republicans have launched more than 90 attacks on the Act, none of which improve the conservation or recovery of protected wildlife. Since Republicans retook the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, more than 325 attacks against the Act have been introduced."


Senator Barrasso Proposes Legislation to Gut Endangered Species Act


In September 2019 the Trump administration gutted the Endangered Species Act and is now being sued by 17 state attorney generals. 


***

THE POLYMET MINE

In 2008 there was a major political dispute over the Polymet sulfide mine when then State Senator Ellen Anderson requested "an independent review of whether state laws and regulations are sufficient to ensure that a major new industry - potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs - will protect water from sulfides and other toxics brought up with every ounce of copper, nickel, palladium, gold and trace minerals buried in the ancient lava rock of Minnesota's arrowhead."

To speed things along and "to avoid added environmental review, Polymet sought help from Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman, and Rep. James Oberstar, who introduced legislation to force a land sale."


Why do the majority of Minnesotans object to the Polymet mine? Watch THIS short video to find out.



August 14, 2008 MinnPost "A plan by Sen. Amy Klobuchar to quietly and quickly push legislation allowing the sale of federal land near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., to a Canadian company to expedite its plans to mine for copper, nickel and other metals is erupting into a high-stakes controversy that could rival the gaping open pit that the land sale would bring."

"The bill by Klobuchar and a House companion by another Minnesota DFLer, Rep. James Oberstar of Chisholm, would allow the sale of 6,700 acres of U.S. Forest Service land to Vancouver-based PolyMet Mining Corp., a move that would circumvent a more transparent — and time-consuming — land-exchange process."

Hoyt Lakes Land Sale Erupting Into Clash of the Titans

Over the years environmental groups and tribes in Minnesota have continued to oppose the Polymet mine and the land exchange which must take place for Polymet to surface mine. 

Land Exchange Explained

On March 17, 2017 the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, and Save Our Sky Blue Waters filed lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service under the Endangered Species Act for their approval of the Polymet open pit mine.

"This massive mine would destroy public forest that is critical to the survival and recovery of wolves and lynx, said Marc Finc, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity."

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Wolves and Lynx from Polymet

Photo below taken from https://www.wctrib.com/news/4241409-lawsuit-filed-against-polymet-land-exchange


Critical habitat by county



On June 5, 2018 Senator Tina Smith sponsored State Amendment 2523 to override four lawsuits that stood in the way of the land-exchange which prevented Polymet from moving forward.  Senator Amy Klobuchar co-sponsored the amendment. 

"Opponents of the Polymet project on Friday, including the Sierra Club, called the Senate amendment a "backroom deal" that subverts federal environmental law."

Amendment
Senate Amendment Would Push Polymet Land Exchange

This was yet another move by Amy Klobuchar to strip citizens of their right to judicial review.

"The lawsuits are a right of citizens as part of the federal environmental review and approval process for Polymet's proposed NorthMet Mine Project. The lawsuits filed against the Polymet land exchange argue the exchange violates bedrock U.S. environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.  The land was acquired under the Weeks Act, which prohibits open pit mining on the National Forest land that Polymet wants to destroy. Smith's amendment will prevent federal courts from upholding these laws, repealing them in favor of a foreign mining company."
Tina Smith, Polymet, and the Toxic Path to Pollution
The Weeks Act
Endangered Species Act
National Environmental Policy Act
Federal Land Policy and Management Act

On June 20, 2018 Donald Trump visited Duluth, MN:

"St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber of Hermantown - the Republican candidate for 8th District Congress - told Trump Northeastern Minnesota is "on the cusp of something big" by opening up copper-nickel mining in the state for the first time, including the proposed Polymet and Twin Metals projects. Trump pledged his support for pushing those copper projects through. We're working very hard to open up the area to copper mining, Trump said.  "We'll get it done."

Trump Touts 'America First' Policies in Duluth Warehouse

In July 2018 Senator Tina Smith's Amendment was derailed.

"Members of the U.S. Senate-House conference committee have eliminated a provision that would have cleared the way for completion of a land exchange between Polymet mining and the U.S. Forest Service."

Polymet Land Swap Deal Derailed


***
Senator Amy Klobuchar has proven with her support for Polymet and her actions against the continued protection of gray wolves that she is no friend of the environment or wildlife.