This is a sign-on letter sent from the MEP Mining Cluster to representatives of responsible government agencies regarding the the PolyMet FEIS.
December 22, 2014
Mr. Thomas Hingsberger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
US Army Corps of Engineers
Sibley Square at Mears Park
190 5th Street East, Suite 401
St. Paul, MN 55101
Commissioner Thomas Landwehr (email@example.com)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road,
St. Paul, MN 55155
Mr. Michael Jimenez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Minerals NEPA Project Manager
Superior National Forest
8901 Grand Avenue Place
Duluth, MN 55808
RE: Meeting request regarding public comment process and timing for next phases of the PolyMet NorthMet Environmental Impact Statement
Dear Mr. Hingsberger, Commissioner Landwehr, Mr. Jimenez:
I am writing to request a meeting for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership Mining Cluster, a voluntary association of nonprofit organizations working on mining issues in the state. We would like to be able to meet before January 16, 2015 with the co-lead agencies responsible for the PolyMet NorthMet environmental review process.
We understand that the co-lead agencies have begun to address the concerns raised by public comments on the PolyMet Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement . Recent statements by Commissioner Landwehr have indicated that the next version of the Environmental Impact Statement is anticipated to be complete in the spring of 2015. We request an opportunity for these groups to meet with the co-lead agencies well in advance of this release date to discuss the concerns raised by the organizations within our coalition. These groups represent more than 100,000 citizens across Minnesota, many of whom have expressed specific concerns about potential environmental impacts of Minnesota’s first proposed sulfide mining project.
We would like to discuss development and implementation of a process for public review and comment that provides sufficient time and information for the public to understand the voluminous and complicated record, and to secure a meaningful opportunity to be heard and to hear others’ perspectives on the PolyMet Project and its implications for Minnesota’s environment and way of life.
The co-lead agencies have a responsibility to ensure that public participation is robust. We wish to express our gratitude to the lead agencies for meeting with our coalition on May 30, 2013, prior to the PolyMet NorthMet Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, to plan for a process of public involvement in that draft. Our organizations are also grateful for the efforts made by the governmental agencies to involve the people of the region in the process of reviewing the most recent draft of the EIS released in November of 2013. As demonstrated by our cooperative efforts with your agencies in the SDEIS comment period, the public has a profound interest in the decisions being made.
We ask that the agencies come to this meeting prepared to share the process and procedures they are using to respond to comments. We would like to know the method by which comments are being accumulated and stored. We want to ensure complete transparency and accessibility of data to the public and our member groups consistent with the Data Practices Act. Finally, we are interested in the co-lead agencies’ plans for public hearings surrounding the release of the preliminary FEIS or FEIS. We would like to provide feedback, based on our experience with the public comment period and hearings for the Supplemental Draft EIS, on achieving a successful public comment period.
Please contact Aaron Klemz, Mining Cluster convener, to schedule this meeting or with questions or (email@example.com; (612) 332-9630). Thank you for your consideration.
On behalf of the MEP Mining Cluster:
Center for Biological Diversity
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest
Izaak Walton League-Minnesota
League of Women Voters Minnesota
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
North Star Chapter, Sierra Club
Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Protect Our Manoomin
Save Lake Superior Association
Save Our Sky Blue Waters
Voyageurs National Park Association