ST. PAUL, MN -- After months of review, the Minnesota Supreme Court is siding with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and its decision to grant permits for PolyMet Mining.
On Wednesday morning, the court overturned a lower court ruling which states the MPCA had to investigate PolyMet's plans to potentially build a bigger copper-nickel mine than what the state had originally permitted.
A coalition of environmental groups, led by the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, filed two appeals challenging the decision of the MPCA to grant an air-emissions permit to PolyMet for the proposed mine.
The environmental groups argued that the agency didn't conduct an adequate investigation into whether PolyMet intended to operate within the limits of the permit or whether the company was instead seeking a “sham” permit, according to the court.
Following that, the MPCA and PolyMet each petitioned for further review, saying the court of appeals incorrectly applied relevant laws and improperly considered extra-record information. The MN Supreme Court then granted those petitions.
On Wednesday, the court ruled that federal regulations do not mandate future-looking investigations once an applicant has obtained a permit. Because of that, the court ruled to reverse the decision of the court of appeals.