Earlier in March, over 150 Great Lakes enthusiasts gathered in Washington D.C. for Great Lakes Days. Keynote speaker, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, discussed the Obama Administration’s disappointing budget cuts to integral Great Lakes programs.
MEP Executive Director Steve Morse made a comment at a question-and-answer session with Gina McCarthy at Great Lakes Days. He took this opportunity to discuss the importance of protecting the Boundary Waters from sulfide mining. Steve noted that in order to protect the water-rich area of the Boundary Waters, which connects with the Great Lakes, the EPA needs to stands its ground through the environmental review process for the PolyMet sulfide mine. In Steve’s words, the EPA has been the only government agency that’s really held the PolyMet sulfide mine project to account so far. Steve explained that the Boundary Waters area is not the right place for a sulfide mine, and he concluded by stating, “I hope EPA will stand its ground through the review process and the permitting process because you’re the only people who are doing the job.”
Way to go, Steve, for standing up in D.C. for the protection of the Boundary Waters from PolyMet!
With the DNR, MPCA and other state agencies knuckling under at every turn, the EPA does indeed remain our last bastion our support in preventing the Lake Superior Watershed from the perpetual pollution of the sulfide mining. Unfortunately, the EPA’s response to the PolyMet’s SDEIS was couched in conciliatory language that suggests the agency is under tremendous political pressure on this issue, mostly likely from Rep. Nolan. He’s sold out his legacy of protecting public health and the environment to the interests of foreign mining companies. We need to call him out on that betrayal of the principles for which he was elected.
Thanks for your thoughtful perspective on this, Paul. Finding the most progressive and most electable position on environmental issues in the Eighth Congressional District takes either nuance or bravery. I’m glad the EPA can operate outside political pressure.