Recent Developments in the PolyMet Environmental Review

PolyMet's potential processing plant (Photo courtesy MN Department of Natural Resources)
PolyMet’s potential processing plant. Photo courtesy MN Department of Natural Resources.

While the public review and comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the PolyMet sulfide mining proposal continues, the media, environmental groups and others continue their coverage and discussion.

This first possible mine for copper and nickel in the state has become a big topic of conversation. Governor Dayton remains undecided, promising to wait to make up his mind one way or another until he’s had a chance to fully review the project.

Duluth News Tribune: Groups want more time on PolyMet study
“The request, long expected, was made by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and a coalition of 27 environmental, civic and commercial organizations. In letters to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service’s Superior National Forest, the groups said the document is too big and too complex to digest in 90 days.”

Mesabi Daily News: PolyMet backers plan bus convoy to hearing Jan. 16
“It is important for Range residents to turn out to support the project, Lislegard said, as there is a notion among opponents that Range is divided on it, which ‘is just not true.’

“The intention for the seven buses going there is to go in a convoy, and arrive at the DECC at the same time.”

MinnPost: Copper-nickel mining shaping up as big issue for Dayton campaign, labor and environmentalists
“The campaign is polling on the question of copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota, according to two sources who have knowledge of the campaign and who are familiar with the efforts of PolyMet and Twin Metals to obtain state permits for their mining operations.”

Minnesota Public Radio: PolyMet plans to offset wetland destruction
“A proposed copper-nickel mine will destroy more than 900 acres of northeast Minnesota wetlands, but the company hoping to build the mine says it will add wetlands elsewhere to offset the loss.”

StarTribune: PolyMet mining project tears at DFL unity
Democrats are scrambling to contain the conflict and prevent another “massacre” of 1978, when Republicans capitalized on similar outrage over the creation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Rivals divided the DFL over the issue and allowed Republicans to make historic electoral gains, claiming the governor’s office and both U.S. Senate seats.”

MinnPost: Review of PolyMet Mining project finds treatment, and costs, lasting centuries
“In NorthMet, which proposes to mine and process copper, nickel and other precious metals on land now within the Superior National Forest, Minnesotans may be approaching a huge and high-stakes test of something very like the insurance idea, at sites within or near the state’s most treasured boreal wilderness areas.”

StarTribune editorial: Measuring the risks in copper-nickel mining
“The officials who eventually make the momentous permitting decisions won’t just be making a choice about jobs or environmental quality affecting Minnesotans monitoring this historic debate. Instead, they’ll be making a choice for generations to come about the Arrowhead’s natural resources, including waterways that eventually flow into Lake Superior.”

Duluth News Tribune: Groups ask EPA for broad mining review
“The groups want the EPA to look at what impact existing mining has on the regional ecology, including the impact of toxic mercury in the environment, the contribution regional mining makes to that mercury load and how adding more mining might increase mercury.”

Bloomberg News: Will Copper Pots Destroy Lake Superior?
“The NorthMet project, as it’s known, will be located in a scenic area within hiking distance of 1.3 million acres of federally protected wilderness and — most crucially — rivers that flow into Lake Superior.

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