Environmental group to Minnesotans: Ask your governor to stop PolyMet mine

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An environmental group is hoping to enlist Gov. Mark Dayton in the fight against what would be Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine.

Through a new video ad and an online petition, Mining Truth is imploring Minnesotans to ask Dayton to stop the proposed site, known as the NorthMet Project, which would see construction of a sulfide mining facility on the Iron Range between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes.

The site is not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and other waterways which feed into the St. Louis River and Lake Superior, the group says.

At issue is potential pollution from the project, as the sulfide present in the area produces sulfuric acid and other toxic substances when it's exposed to air or water.

Mining Truth hopes to avert a disaster like the one seen last year at the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, Canada.

The group says equipment and mining processes similar to those that would be used at the proposed NorthMet Project led to the spill of more than 1 billion gallons of waste and polluted water.

One step closer to approval

This comes just a week after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources submitted a years-in-the-making environmental review on NorthMet to the nine state agencies that will decide whether or not the mine gets the go-ahead.

PolyMet, the company behind the proposed project, called it a "milestone" on the regulatory path.

The corporation has also said the designs of the mining operation are different from those at Mount Polley, and that it would "meet all state and federal regulations and would be safe," according to the Star Tribune.

The paper points out that PolyMet did not own Mount Polley.

There's still a long way to go before the mine is approved, though, with the environmental study for the site due to be released for public comment later this fall, MPR News reports.

For his part, the station says, Dayton is "remaining neutral and undecided about the proposed PolyMet project" for the time being.

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