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Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I had recently read “River of Doubt”, the story of Teddy Roosevelt’s Amazon expedition, so after viewing the colorful poster on the grocery store bulletin board, I attended the presentation by Adventurer Paul Schurke on November 5th, my Mom’s birthday, were she still alive. The presentation, according to the poster, was sponsored by the “Institute for Culture & Public Service” of Bismarck State College.

After finding a good seat in the Bavendick Stateroom of the National Energy Center of Excellence (abbreviated as NECE on the poster) I awaited for the presentation for which admission was free.

Very early in Mr. Schurke’s presentation I noticed how disjointed it was, jumping back and forth from his retracement of Teddy’s life and Amazon adventure to the Boundary Waters Canoe area near his home in Minnesota. But early in the presentation he offered a hint at the reason for the inclusion of the canoe area by offering a snide reference to the audience’s “Republican friends” who may not be aware that the conservationist was a Republican. The condescending inference was twofold, that modern day Republicans are NOT conservationists and that they are largely unaware of the political bent of Theodore Roosevelt. My response would be “why would conservative Republicans value long held ethics, morality, traditions, culture, natural law (that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights…), but forsake the natural world around us? To the contrary, I find my conservative friends very responsive to natural preservation… as long as such preservation is done voluntarily by “society” rather than by government through legal plunder of both current and as yet unborn taxpayers.

As the presentation continued, over an hour and a half, Mr. Schurke boldly revealed that he will be soon be canoeing with others, culminating in a visit to the White House to lobby the executive branch against the proposed copper and nickel mining venture proposed in Northern Minnesota. Shouldn’t they be lobbying the legislative branch or do we now have a king rather than a president?

As I left the event, I picked up a “Save the Boundary Waters” advertisement openly laid on a table at the top of the stairs, noticing the presence of the Acting Chancellor of the University System who appeared cheery and pleased, as usual as he took his copy.

The back page of the advertisement stated:

“Now this special place is jeopardized by proposals for sulfide-ore mining for copper and nickel – a risky type of mining that has never before been permitted in Minnesota. By-products of sulfide-ore mining include hazardous pollutants such as sulfuric acid and heavy metals, which could permanently ruin the pristine water and unspoiled forests of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. While the proposed sulfide-ore mines are not within the Boundary Waters Wilderness itself, their pollution will flow into the Wilderness and directly damage the Wilderness.”

Several points must be made. First, nowhere on the poster was the “Save the Boundary Waters” mentioned. Secondly, the BSC-produced posters and the venue itself were taxpayer funded.

So it is with eager anticipation that I await a future presentation, at the same venue, by advocates for the mining venture to portray their facts and associated point of view. I trust that it will be presented by a similarly dynamic “resource development entrepreneur” (a Harold Hamm like figure) that inspires young minds to go into engineering and science and older minds to take the left wing “propaganda” portion of last Wednesday’s presentation with a grain of salt. Forgive me if I do not hold my breath…


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