For Immediate Release, February 1, 2010
Contact: Marc Fink, Center for Biological Diversity, (218) 525-3884
Proposed PolyMet Mine Would Violate Environmental Laws and Cannot Proceed
DULUTH, Minn.— The Center for Biological Diversity today submitted detailed comments on the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed NorthMet copper-nickel mine on the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. The Center’s comments rely on the agencies’ environmental analysis to demonstrate that the proposed mine would violate numerous environmental laws, destroying critical wildlife habitat and valuable wetlands, and cannot proceed.
“According to the draft analysis, PolyMet’s proposal would violate the Endangered Species Act by destroying critical habitat for lynx and wolves, would fail to meet water quality standards, would violate wetlands laws, and is not allowed on the Superior National Forest,” said Marc Fink, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This mine, as proposed, is dead on arrival.”
The proposed mine would be the first copper mine permitted in the state. The proposed mine would destroy nearly 1,500 acres of designated critical habitat for the Canada lynx and gray wolf as well as more than 800 acres of high-quality wetlands, which would represent the largest recorded disturbance to wetlands in the region. And the mine would add massive amounts of tailings waste on top of the existing LTV tailings basin, which is already leaking and violating state water-quality standards.
The project is located near the headwaters of the Partridge and Embarrass river watersheds, tributaries of the St. Louis River that flows into Lake Superior. Many of the streams in the area and downstream are already designated by the state as impaired due to past and ongoing water pollution.
The Center for Biological Diversity, along with Save Lake Superior Association and the Indigenous Environmental Network, sent notice last week pursuant to the Clean Water Act that they intend to file suit to stop the ongoing pollution at the LTV site, which the groups maintain should be addressed before any new mines in the area are considered.