Tuesday, September 27, 2022

EPA recommends against issuing permits for polymetallic mines

scheduled tribe. Paul, Min. ( Associated Press) — Federal regulators recommended Tuesday that the Army Corps of Engineers refuse to reissue a major permit for a proposed palmitate copper-nickel mine, saying the project could reduce levels of mercury and other pollutants. May extend downwards from site in Northeast. Minnesota.

It’s just a recommendation, but if the Army Corps accepts advice from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Minnesota Public Radio, it could deal a serious blow to the $1 billion mine. informed of.

The EPA announced its position at the start of a three-day hearing in Carlton, where the Corps is testifying as to whether Palmitate would violate the water quality standards of Lake Superior’s Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa, whose reservation is in St. Petersburg. situated at. Louie River from the site.

The core is considering whether to restore the project’s wetland permits, one of several key approvals Polymet needs to begin construction. It is one of three important polymet permits that have been suspended. As the project remains tied up in court and regulatory proceedings.

The EPA determined that there was no condition that core wetlands could put on permits that would ensure compliance with the tribe’s water quality regulations, which are stricter than the state. Aboriginal members rely on fish from the St. Louis River, which flows through the reservation, but consumption advice limits the number of fish that can be eaten safely.

Environmental groups opposing Polymet said they expect the EPA’s position to bear significant weight with the core when deciding whether to restore or revoke wetland permits, and if the core follows the EPA’s advice. If not, a court will reject the Corps’ decision.

But Polymet said in a statement that the agency “disregarded science-based findings” in the project’s environmental review and permitting process. The company said it is confident that the Corps will verify the permit after considering all the evidence.

Polymet argues that the project will actually reduce mercury and sulfate discharges into the St. Louis River watershed because it will clear an old iron mining waste pond at the processing plant site. The company reported that the site is more than 100 river miles upstream from the reservation.

The permit in question would allow Polymet to fill about 1,000 acres of wetland at its proposed mine site. The Corps approved the permit in 2019, but a federal judge ruled last year that the government had failed to inform the downstream tribe about the potential impacts. So the Corps suspended the permit, Leading up to the current hearing.

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