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Court of Appeals denies water permit for Minntac

MOUNTAIN IRON, MN - The Minnesota Court of Appeals struck down a water permit for the state's largest iron ore facility on Monday.

The permit dealt with the tailings basin at U.S. Steel-operated Minntac.

In 2016, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy sued the MPCA alleging the agency failed to enforce the clean water law.

The MCEA stated then Minntac had been operating with an expired state pollution permit for more than 25 years.

The lawsuit was later dropped after the group said they reached a deal with the state that achieved their primary goal.

The MPCA renewed the permit last year amid a protracted dispute over whether Minntac had to comply with a state law meant to protect wild rice by limiting sulfate discharges.

Monday's ruling sends the dispute back to the MPCA for further proceedings .

In a statement, a spokesperson for the MPCA said, " “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is dedicated to protecting Minnesota’s most valuable resource – its water. While the agency continues to review today’s Appeal Court’s decision and assess its next steps, the MPCA will continue engaging with stakeholders to ensure the state’s groundwater and surface water are protected.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Kevin Jacobsen

News Director

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