Cooperation Improving on PolyMet

June 27, 2011 
Renee Passal

On Monday, the state and federal agencies working on PolyMet permitting met in Duluth, for the second roundtable discussion called by Congressman Chip Cravaack.

The first one was in March.

And since that time, Cravaack and our state leaders said that communication is improving.

At one point, the federal Environmental Protection Agency seemed critical of what permitting work had been done so far on the base and precious metals project.

Now, the relationships are building between the people who are working on PolyMet.

"The biggest thing that came out today, was that the EPA and the state have decided they need to have a solid environmental document, that will stand up in court," Rep. Cravaack said.

It's likely that environmental groups will sue once permitting is approved, according to leaders on both levels.

As for the looming government shutdown, work can still continue on the project. "Private contractors can still work, along with PolyMet and the federal agencies," said Senator Dave Tomassoni, of Chisholm.

"I don't see a shutdown affecting the project too much, since it's already been a very slow process," added Rep. Tom Rukavina.

PolyMet has been under environmental review since 2004.

The company expects to have its supplemental draft EIS out this fall, which will be up for public comment.

PolyMet plans on mining base and precious metals near Babbitt, and processing them in Hoyt Lakes.