DNR Deems PolyMet Mine EIS Statement Adequate
The PolyMet mine project has cleared a major hurdle with the DNR determining that the environmental impact statement for the proposed project meet’s state standards for adequacy.
The determination marks the end of the state environmental impact process, however it does not mean the project has been approved or may proceed to construction.
The DNR says they thoroughly reviewed the 3,500 page EIS and an additional 30,000 public comments on the Final Environmental Impact Statement. The project involved more than 90,000 hours of state staff time, which was reimbursed by Polymet Mining.
In order to deem the EIS adequate, the DNR based it’s decision on three criteria:
-Does the EIS analyze the topics identified in scoping?
-Does the EIS respond to comments received on the draft?
-Did the DNR follow the process outlined in state statute and rule for preparing an Environmental Impact Statement?
Based on the determination, PolyMet can now move forward with the permitting process. There are more than 20 types of local, state and federal permits the project needs to be completed.
In addition, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must still complete their records of decision. The Forest Service is expected to release their final decision on land exchange in the Spring. There is no timeline on when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release theirs.
DNR officials say they know PolyMet has been working on permit applications, but they have not yet received any applications. There is no timeline for the application process.
Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan released a statement following the announcement saying that “Today’s decision is a major win for the Iron Range. With hundreds of miners laid off due to the illegal dumping of millions of tons of foreign government subsidized steel into our marketplace, we need this project now more than ever.”