MINNEAPOLIS – Late last year, the state of Minnesota asked the public for its input on the ongoing environmental review and permitting process of the proposed PolyMet copper nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes.
In all, 52,887 people and organizations took time to submit comments on the proposal, which broke the previous state record for comments by nearly 50,000. An analysis of all of the submitted comments conducted by Mining Truth, found that 51,970 (98.2 percent) of the comments raised concerns about the proposal as currently written. There were 883 (1.6 percent) comments supporting the project, and another 84 (0.2 percent) where the author’s position was not clear.
In December, the state initiated a 90-day public comment period to solicit the opinions of the public on the most recent draft of the project’s environmental impact statement. The previous record for most comments was held by an earlier version of this same project’s environmental impact statement, which was ultimately rejected by the Environmental Protection Agency, necessitating the more recent draft.
“The intensity of the opposition to this project is testament to the fact that the mining companies still have some fairly big information gaps in their proposal,” said Paul Danicic, Executive Director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “Since we don’t know how long polluted water from the site will need to be treated once the mine closes, it is clear that there is growing opposition to the idea of Minnesotans shouldering all the long-term financial and environmental risks while foreign mining corporations rake in all the profits.”
Mining Truth is a combined effort of Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy to provide a resource for Minnesotans to get the facts about sulfide mining and its impacts.