What did you expect? This week, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) said their own PolyMet Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was “adequate.” If asked to grade their own papers, how many middle schoolers would say they should get an “F”?
In his discussion with the press right after the MDNR’s announcement, Governor Mark Dayton explained that the scope of an “adequacy” decision under law is limited to three questions: did the EIS discuss the designated topics, did the EIS respond to citizen comments, and was proper procedure used?
The Governor explained that detailed scrutiny of PolyMet’s environmental impacts and the question of whether Minnesotans can be protected from financial risks of pollution liability would begin now as part of the state’s permitting decisions. The Governor underscored that his commissioners report to him and that he did not intend to evade responsibility for decisions on the PolyMet project.
It’s important to let Governor Dayton know that you are holding him accountable and that you don’t want the State of Minnesota to issue PolyMet any permit that would allow toxic pollution or impose liability costs on taxpayers.
Please call Governor Dayton today (651-201-3400) with a simple message: “Please don’t allow permits for the PolyMet sulfide mine.”
PolyMet may call this non-event a “milestone.” Reality check here: PolyMet hasn’t received a single permit from either the state or the federal government. PolyMet’s mine plan does not comply with the Clean Water Act, and PolyMet’s Final EIS does not satisfy legal requirements. PolyMet’s sulfide mine plan would increase toxic pollutants, increase mercury contamination of fish, harm human health and violate laws protecting wetlands and tribal resources in Minnesota. Neither PolyMet nor the agencies have evaluated less damaging alternatives (like dry-stack tailings), an assessment that is required by law. The PolyMet project has an insufficient plan for financial assurance and would require perpetual treatment of polluted wastewater.
Gaps in the PolyMet Final EIS and PolyMet’s failure to meet legal requirements are just beginning to be exposed as state and federal agencies begin to evaluate potential permits. The more carefully experts and regulators examine the PolyMet record, the less likely it will be this open-pit copper-nickel mine project will be permitted.
The PolyMet project is nowhere near the finish line. It is just reaching the starting gate. There will be many stumbling blocks ahead.
Please call Governor Dayton today (651-201-3400) and ask him not to allow permits for the PolyMet sulfide mine. Then, stay with us in this important struggle to protect Minnesota fish, wild rice, wetlands, human health, tribal resources and the legacy of clean water for future generations. Now, more than ever, we need to work together to protect Minnesota fish, wild rice, wetlands, human health, tribal resources and the legacy of clean water for future generations.
Paula Goodman Maccabee
WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Counsel