A group of 70 Minnesota lawmakers have issued a letter to Gov. Tim Walz in support of PolyMet’s efforts to open the state’s first copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota.
The letter comes in response to an anti-PolyMet letter issued by 18 Metro-area Democrats late last month. Supporters of PolyMet call that letter a “veiled” effort to “stop these projects for ideological reasons.”
State Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) led the anti-PolyMet coalition and said that he had concerns about whether the company would cover mine clean-up costs and water treatment, according to MPR News.
Additional concerns were expressed about PolyMet’s relationship with Glencore, a Swiss mining company that recently became PolyMet’s majority stock owner.
PolyMet has obtained necessary permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources. The latter recently rejected a request made by environmental groups to revoke a dam safety permit and permit to mine it issued in late June, PolyMet announced Wednesday.
“We appreciate the state’s thoughtful and conclusive decision formally denying environmental groups’ request for reconsideration of these permits,” said PolyMet President Jon Cherry.
In the new letter issued to Walz, the pro-PolyMet lawmakers express their obligation to “reassure men and women in Greater Minnesota that we are standing to support the future of mining in Minnesota.”
“Living wage jobs are the backbone of our communities, and we will not stand idle when misinformed legislators levy false attacks against valued industries in our state like mining,” the letter states, rejecting claims that PolyMet “hasn’t met state and federal statutes and regulations.”
“We respect differing opinions; we do not appreciate last-ditch efforts meant to throw sand in the gears of an already state-and-federally approved project vital to the future of the Iron Range and northern Minnesota,” it continues. “Together we refute each false claim levied against PolyMet and Minnesota environmental regulators from metro legislators.”
The full letter and list of legislators who signed can be viewed here.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) called the PolyMet project the “most scrutinized industrial project in Minnesota history.”
“We are confident that when the dust settles and all court challenges are decided, the facts outlined in the letter will prevail and the permits will be upheld,” Daudt said in a press release. “It’s disappointing that anti-mining legislators are spreading misinformation in a last-ditch effort to stop a project that will bring tremendous economic growth and job opportunities to the Iron Range.”
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