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Minnesota DFL lawmakers call for suspension of MPCA, DNR PolyMet permits

ST. PAUL, MN – 18 Minnesota DFL lawmakers are calling for the Governor Walz administration to suspend state permits for the PolyMet Copper Nickle project.

In a letter sent to Walz on Wednesday, the lawmakers point to three recent developments in asking for the suspension of permits issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources.

– The MPCA’s handling of EPA comments surrounding PolyMet permits

– Brazil dam collapse in January that killed nearly 250 people.

– Glencore becoming majority owner of PolyMet

The lawmakers also highlight three of their concerns about some of the permits and their suggestions to rewrite them.

“We need to investigate this apparent cover-up of shoddy practices in the permitting process. But we also cannot forget that a flawed process resulted in flawed permits. The new information available to Minnesotans merit a revisiting of the permits and the failures in the process that produced them. Let’s protect Minnesota’s public health, our waters, and the financial obligations of our taxpayers by suspending the permits until we fully address these issues,” said Sen. John Marty.

Lawmakers representing NE Minnesota were not among the signed lawmakers.

The letter comes a day after numerous environmental groups called on Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to open an investigation into PolyMet’s majority owner.

The Attorney Generals office says it has received the letter and is reviewing it.

Glencore has been accused of human rights violations and environmental damage at its other mines around the world.

PolyMet did not immediately respond to request for comment.

PolyMet released the following statement regarding the letter:

PolyMet has spent the last 13 years diligently following and complying with every required state and federal science-based process to legally permit and operate a mine. We have demonstrated that this project meets all state and federal environmental standards, which are the most stringent in the nation and in the world. Multiple internal and external reviews, along with unprecedented public comment opportunities, have occurred on all aspects of the project, and it has been determined that PolyMet meets or exceeds all factors of safety.

You can read the full letter below, or by clicking here on a mobile device.

CBS 3 Duluth Staff

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