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Madison Anderson | November 29, 2017

Just wanted to flag a tough vote that Rick Nolan will be taking this afternoon on Tom Emmer’s mining bill.

Will he cave to liberal interests and once again flip-flop on the issue? Or will he finally listen to his constituents and attempt to represent their interests?

ICYMI from the MinnPost on Nolan, mining, and his primary opponent:

Since arriving for his second stint in Congress in 2013 — he served for a few terms in the 1970s — Nolan has walked a fine line on mining, aiming to keep pro-mining and pro-environment DFLers behind him, even as they increasingly grew at odds with each other.

To hear some in CD8 tell it, however, Nolan’s actions this year have upset his balance on mining. The Timberjay newspaper of Ely, in a recent editorial, pointed out a notable moment from May, in which Nolan appeared at the Twin Metals office on the Iron Range alongside Emmer and a handful of Republican congressmen from the so-called Western Caucus — a group that pushes strident right-wing views on resource extraction and public lands — to advocate for action to reverse the Obama decisions on the Twin Metals leases.

“His recent alignment with some of the Republican Party’s most radical anti-environment and anti-public lands members of Congress has left Nolan incongruously positioned to the right of the Trump administration on the environment,” the Timberjay wrote.

Privately, some DFLers express befuddlement over Nolan’s recent moves, and believe he could be doing himself more harm than good.

“Certainly,” Phifer says, “the legislation the congressman has pushed forward, especially throughout the summer, that has been the last straw for a lot of folks willing to overlook militant, pro-mining stances that could put the regulatory process in jeopardy.”

“It’s gotten to the point where we’ve lost quite a few people,” Phifer says of Nolan’s stance.

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