Last week Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency and authorized the National Guard for the big weather system, celebrated news of the reopening of mining operations on the North Shore, signed two bills into law and extended his appreciation to the State Patrol, National Guard and emergency responders for their service during the winter storm.
On Feb. 20, Walz released the following statement celebrating the news that Cleveland-Cliffs will restart its mining operations in Silver Bay and Babbitt in April.
“Last month, we extended unemployment insurance for hundreds of workers – a critical bridge for workers waiting for today’s news. I’m relieved to learn that the collaboration between state and local leaders has paid off and that the Iron Range families who depend on these jobs can rest easy knowing that they’re heading back to work,” said Walz. “This is a win for Silver Bay, Northeastern Minnesota and the state as a whole.”
The mining operation, which manufactures high quality DR-grade pellets for electric steel furnaces, had been shut down but will now be calling workers back after a mass lay-off last spring.
A peacetime emergency was declared by Walz on Feb. 21, as forecasts predicted up to 20 inches of snow and at the request of Minnesota National Guard’s Adjutant General, Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Commissioner of Public Safety Bob Jacobson, and Commissioner of Transportation Nancy Daubenberger, authorized the National Guard to provide emergency relief services for stranded motorists across Minnesota.
Also on Feb. 21, Walz signed two bills into law, which add inflation to future state budget forecasts and ensure that the Department of Natural Resources has the authority to properly transfer Minnesota county and state lands.
“As Governor, I am committed to creating a balanced and responsible budget for the state of Minnesota. By adding inflation to the state’s budget forecasts, we will have a more accurate picture of the state’s finances and be better equipped to make informed decisions about our budget,” said Walz.
“Minnesotans care deeply about our state parks and natural resources. This bill will ensure proper handling and transfer of our state’s public lands,” continued Walz.
Chapter 10, House File 35: This bill allows the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget to include inflation in future state budget forecasts, providing transparency and a clear picture about Minnesota’s finances. The bill aligns Minnesota with the rest of the country in terms of economic forecasting.
Chapter 9, House File 50: This bill authorizes the DNR to make changes to improve Minnesota’s state park and recreation area boundaries and properly transfer Minnesota county and state lands.
On Feb. 23, Walz thanked Minnesota’s snowplow drivers, the State Patrol, the National Guard, and emergency responders across the state for their work keeping Minnesotans safe during the week’s winter storm.
“I am immensely grateful to the snowplow drivers, state troopers, first responders and members of the Minnesota National Guard for working tirelessly to provide aid to Minnesotans and making sure our roads and highways are as safe as possible,” said Walz. “I am proud of this coordinated effort to keep Minnesotans across the state safe. The state stands ready to provide further assistance as we continue to weather this storm together.”
The administration released some numbers to put the winter storm from last week into perspective. Since Feb. 21, the State Patrol has responded to 3,182 calls to 911, and 100 percent of the calls were answered within 20 seconds. Minnesota State Troopers have also responded to dozens of crashes and spinouts.
The National Guard had been stationed across the state and was prepared to respond quickly to rescue stranded motorists or provide other assistance, at the direction of the Department of Public Safety’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and as requested by county officials.