Five environmental groups are suing the State of Minnesota over a $4-million loan that Iron Range Resources approved for PolyMet Mining as part of its plan to mine copper, nickel, and precious metals near Babbitt, MN.
The Duluth News Tribune reports on the story HERE.
The suit claims that the loan violates Minnesota environmental law which, the claimants say, prohibits state agencies like Ion Range Resources from investing in projects prior to environmental review and permitting.
Iron Range Resources approved the loan in December to help PolyMet buy two pieces of land it intends to swap with the U.S. Forest Service for the Superior National Forest land where they intend to develop their mine. As we reported earlier, HERE, the State of Minnesota would own the parcels — one near Biwabik, the other in Cook County — should the mine not be developed.
The suit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Save Lake Superior Association, the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Currently, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service are reworking the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project. The initial Draft Environmental Impact Statement was criticized by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for not addressing the issue of funds to be set aside for future clean-up nor adequately addressing wetland and endangered species destruction and water quality concerns.