EPA says PolyMet mine study shows improvements

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Commenting on a controversial plan to bring more mining to the state of Minnesota closed Thursday, with one of the most crucial commenters saying PolyMet Mining Corp.'s environmental impact analysis showed improvements, according to media reports.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave PolyMet Mining Company's plan for a copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota the equivalent of a "B" grade, according to the Star Tribune. The EPA said the proposed $650 million project needs some changes and further analysis, but will likely be ready to move to the final phase of environmental review, according to MPR News.

The EPA's comments on the 2,000-page environmental impact analysis are perhaps the most important, the Star Tribune says. The analysis was open for public review for three months and it received more than 40,000 comments before the commenting period closed at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, MPR reports.

"We appreciate the extensive improvements to the project and the clarity and completeness of the environmental review that are reflected in the [supplemental draft environmental impact statement]," EPA officials wrote in a letter to the regulators overseeing the review, including the state Department of Natural Resources, MPR reports.

The EPA gave PolyMet a failing grade in its first environmental study four years ago, the Star Tribune reports. The current plan's grade is on par with grades received by other recent big projects in Minnesota, including the Central Light Rail Corridor and the St. Croix River Bridge, the newspaper says.

PolyMet officials celebrated the EPA's assessment, despite the need for additional analysis, MPR reports.

"This rating demonstrates the significant improvements PolyMet has made to the project in response to previous public and regulatory comments," PolyMet President and CEO Jon Cherry told MPR.

Environmental group leaders said PolyMet's study fails to address important questions about how the mine and processing plant would affect the environment in northeastern Minnesota, the Associated Press reports.

PolyMet’s proposed Northmet project, hailed by the company as a job-creating “modern, safe mine,” has been the subject of intensifying debate and criticism. The operation would be the first copper-nickel mine in the state and create an economic boost on the state’s Iron Range, say proponents.

Critics of the project are deeply worried about the long-term affects the mine would have on the environment – especially water – and they are concerned about the mine’s impact on the state’s protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

PolyMet officials aim to begin developing the mine in the second half of 2014, according to its website. However, the state's environmental review is expected to continue through much of the year, with final permitting decisions possible in 2015, according to the Star Tribune.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Report: Kellen Mond has COVID, Cousins among players out of practice

The team is scheduled to practice on Saturday night.

USPS packages

Two Ramsey County men sentenced in mail theft scheme

Sonny Vang Xiong was sentenced to three years in prison, while Davis Her was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney's ex-girlfriend files $1 million civil lawsuit

The civil lawsuit accuses Gladney of assaulting the woman for over two hours.

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

ambulance

Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.

police lights

Investigation underway after body found during welfare check in Plato

The identity of the deceased has not yet been revealed.

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Related