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Second PolyMet hearing to be held near proposed mine site

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A high school gymnasium will be the site of the second public meeting allowing the public to voice their opinions on PolyMet Mining’s proposed copper-nickel mine. The Wednesday hearing will be held at Mesabi East High School in Aurora. The Duluth News Tribune notes that's just a few miles from the proposed Hoyt Lakes site.

Northland's News Center notes the meetings are designed to let the public learn more about the environmental effects of the proposed mining project. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. with an open house hosted by the DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service. The open microphone for attendees who want to make public comments is scheduled for 7-10 p.m.

The first public comment meeting in Duluth last week saw 1,200 participants. The third and final public meeting is next Tuesday at the St. Paul RiverCentre.

PolyMet wants to mine copper, nickel and precious metals. Supporters say the project would be a powerful tool for regional economic development, since the Canadian company says it would invest $650 million in the project while generating 300-360 jobs. Detractors fear the development could damage the environment and taxpayers would be stuck with the cleanup bill.

Meanwhile, the editorial board of the Duluth News Tribune quizzed Senator Al Franken about his view of the proposed development, following an Opinion page article from one of his Republican opponents who asked about Franken's stand.

Franken said that he approved of the process, and the newspaper transcribed his comments. “I like the process that’s in order. I think the meeting last (week in Duluth) was great. I wasn’t there but every report … I got from my staff was that it was remarkably civil and that the agencies were incredibly well-prepared. And that this is like exactly what it’s supposed to be. … They’re working all together, the lead agencies," Franken said.

“You know, you can’t have a zero degree of risk. Nothing has a zero degree of risk. You have to have an acceptable level of risk with an acceptable timeframe and at an acceptable cost to the benefit that you get,” he added.

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