Former federal judge Miles Lord, who 30 years ago famously stopped Reserve Mining Co. from dumping tons of carcinogenic tailings in Lake Superior, distributed a letter at the luncheon and made statements essentially accusing Tinklenberg of helping spread "deadly taconite tailings" in Minnesota and across the country.
Tinklenberg defended the work, saying that the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at the University of Minnesota Duluth had tested the rock and found it safe, and that his role has been limited.
"It is not our project," he said. "We've only been asked to explore markets."
Right, he's contracted to market Taconite tailings. The appropriate question would be who payed for the study saying this stuff was safe? If the mining industry or other groups who would profit off the use of taconite tailings paid for the study, it ought to be vigorously questioned.
Tinklenberg, who hopes to win the DFL's endorsement Saturday in Coon Rapids to face Republican incumbent Michele Bachmann, is a former mayor of Blaine and served as Transportation Department commissioner under Gov. Jesse Ventura. After leaving MnDOT, Tinklenberg created a firm specializing in transportation and land-use issues.
No mention of Bob Olson in the story.
Janet O'Connell of Lake Elmo, who also asked questions of Tinklenberg at the luncheon, said that more research must be done on the possible ties between taconite and cancer. She developed an interest in the issue after it came out last year that 35 Iron Range miners died of mesothelioma between 1997 and 2005.
"My concern is, if they use [taconite tailings], what's going to happen to my children and your children," she said.
BTW, Erik Paulsen voted against a U of M study on the cancer epidemic that has swept through Iron Range taconite miners.