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Court says PolyMet mine permits will remain on hold for now

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals is maintaining its suspension of two key permits for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine.

In an order Thursday, a three-judge panel says a stay the court imposed last month on the project’s permit to mine and its dam safety permit should remain in place until it rules on the merits of challenges to the permits that it heard Wednesday.

Paula Maccabee, an attorney for the environmental group WaterLegacy, says it means there can be no construction nor any disturbance of wetlands at the mine site in northeastern Minnesota until the court rules.

The Court of Appeals typically decides cases within 90 days of hearing oral arguments.

Attorneys for the state and PolyMet argued at Wednesday’s hearing that the project has met all the legal requirements.

PolyMet spokespeople issued the following statement to CBS 3 Duluth after the court order:

“As we told the Court, the stay makes it more challenging to secure financing, and the longer it takes to secure financing, the longer the delay in getting the project built and hundreds of Minnesotans to work. But we continue to work on the financing piece, despite the stay. We recognize that the Court of Appeals will make a decision within 90 days and we remain confident that the MDNR met every legal requirement for issuing the permits.”

Associated Press

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