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Army Corps of Engineers pulls PolyMet's wetlands permit

This comes as the EPA is doing a 90-day review of the project.

PolyMet's wetlands permit has been suspended as the Environmental Protection Agency reviews its proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week sent a letter to PolyMet suspending its Section 404 permit during the 90-day review in which the EPA is determining whether the mine "may affect" the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa that's downstream, the Duluth News Tribune says

In the letter, shared by the paper, Col. Karl D. Jansen said the suspension of the permit is in the public's interest. The permit authorizes PolyMet to discharge dredged and fill material into more than 900 acres of wetlands. 

Jensen says depending on the outcome of the EPA's review, the Corps of Engineers will decide to either reinstate PolyMet's permit, modify it or revoke it. 

This all comes following a 2019 lawsuit filed by the Fond du Lac Band that alleged the EPA failed to hold a hearing on the downstream impacts of the mining project, Timberjay reported. A court decision in late February sided with the Band, and then earlier this month a judge gave the OK to the EPA's request to review whether PolyMet "may affect" the Fond du Lac Band.

The EPA had requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspend PolyMet's permit during its 90-day review.

PolyMet has said the "science shows" the project has "no downstream water quality effects."

"PolyMet plans to participate fully, as appropriate, in this process and believes the science will once again prevail," PolyMet said in response to the judge's decision earlier this month. "The science is clear that water discharges from the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals mine will have no impact on downstream waters."

Bring Me The News has reached out to PolyMet for comment on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision. 

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