UPDATE: MPCA issues final state air and water permits for Polymet project

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ST. PAUL, MN — PolyMet has received the final remaining state approvals to move forward with its proposed copper nickle mine in northern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced Thursday they have issued their last air and water permits for PolyMet’s proposed NorthMet project in northeastern Minnesota.

Thursday’s announcement comes after the MPCA developed draft permits held a public comment period, which opened in January 2018 and closed in March 2018. During that time, the MPCA received more than 700 comments.

After evaluating the comments and revising the permits based on those comments, the revised draft permits were sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has federal oversight on the air and water permits. The EPA had no comments during the period allotted, and MPCA Commissioner signed the final permits effective Thursday.

“Issuing these permits comes after a years-long process that saw the most thorough environmental review any construction project has ever had in Minnesota,” MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said. “We are confident the requirements in these permits will protect the environment and human health over the long term.”

The permits MPCA issued include the combined federal/state permits for water discharge and air emissions. The water permit is the key mechanism for protecting water quality. The agency also issued the Clean Water Act Section 401 certification, which focuses on wetland protections.

Thursday’s announcement from the MPCA follows the Department of Natural Resources’ issuance in early November of the Permit to Mine, dam safety, water appropriations, takings, and public waters work permits, along with the Wetlands Conservation Act approval. In total, the MPCA and DNR have issued 17 permits and other approvals.

Now, PolyMet awaits a decision on a federal wetlands permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, which the company says is expected “soon.”

PolyMet would be the state’s first copper-nickel mine. Critics of the open-pit mine near Babbitt cite the risks of acid mine drainage and dam safety concerns. Polymet says it can operate without harming the environment while providing hundreds of jobs.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

RELATED: Politicians, organizations release statements on PolyMet permits

 

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ST. PAUL, MN — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced Thursday they have issued the final air and water permits for PolyMet’s proposed NorthMet project in northeastern Minnesota.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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ST. PAUL, MN — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is set to make a statement Thursday morning on the environmental permits for PolyMet’s NorthMet mining project.

According to a news release, Commissioner John Linc Stine will make the statement at 11 a.m. in St. Paul.

Last winter, the MPCA issued draft permits for public comments for air, water, and Section 401 wetland certification. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed their review of the draft permits.

Check back for updates.

Briggs LeSavage

Briggs LeSavage

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