Financial Assurance Bill Withdrawn

A bill in the Minnesota State Senate which could have raised the financial assurance requirements for non-ferrous mining companies in the state was withdrawn by its sponsor after lengthy hearings in St. Paul.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press, HERE, and the Duluth News Tribune, HERE,  have stories on the matter.

Saying he had accomplished much of what he intended, Senator Jim Carlson, a DFL-er from Eagan, withdrew the bill Wednesday night.  The bill would have tightened the financial assurance requirements on mining companies in order to guarantee payment of environmental clean-up costs incurred by the operations.

Mining proponents claimed the legislation would stall and perhaps stop construction of the NorthMet project of PolyMet Mining Company, a $600-million project expected to bring $242-million of financial impact to northeastern Minnesota.

Environmental advocates, though disappointed by the bill’s withdrawal, can hold out hope for reintroduction of the bill in 2011.  Carlson said he might reintroduce the bill next session, if the ongoing environmental review for NorthMet does not adequately address his concerns.

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