Regulators Receive Extraordinary Number of Comments Regarding Minnesota Mining Project

Regulators Receive Extraordinary Number of Comments Regarding Minnesota Mining Project

Many groups in the region have been closely watching the development of a potential mining project in northern Minnesota. This spring, state regulators received comments from groups, individuals, businesses and others, on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), which is the primary document on which permitting decisions are based. Freshwater Future worked with member groups to develop a letter that was sent with these comments on March 13, 2014 to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which requested that the agency determine the document inadequate in its purposes. In that letter, Freshwater Future outlined numerous concerns with the current
version of this important document, such as:

  •  Modeling of Water Impacts is Inaccurate
  •  Long Term Water Pollution is not Addressed
  •  Financial Information should be Included

In total, over 50,000 comments were sent to the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources regarding the adequacy of the SDEIS. In addition, a separate letter from
Freshwater Future and 10 partner organizations was sent to the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. This letter urged the federal agency to weigh into the discussion,
which they did by providing a letter themselves to the Minnesota DNR. The U.S.
EPA also provided their assessment of the SDEIS and rated the document as EC-2,
which means Environmental Concerns-Insufficient Information.
The Minnesota DNR is now reviewing all of the comments and will determine
whether the SDEIS is adequate or not as a basis for future permit decisions.
While there is no deadline for deciding whether this SDEIS is adequate, the
regulators can ultimately accept the document as is and move forward or they
cannot accept it and continue to work on refining the SDEIS. Freshwater Future
will continue to be involved in efforts that promote community involvement
in the protection of waterways from potential mining pollution.

 

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.