Federal Judge Lifts Hold on Lawsuits Against PolyMet Mine
Environmental Groups say the Deal Undervalues Federal Land
MINNEAPOLIS – A federal judge in Minnesota has lifted a hold that had been placed on four lawsuits challenging the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.
Thursday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen doesn’t list next steps, but her decision to lift the stay means the cases can proceed.
The lawsuits filed by environmental groups seek to block a land swap that PolyMet needs to move forward.
PolyMet swapped 6,650 acres of federal land in the Superior National Forest for a similar amount of private land last June.
Ericksen put the cases on hold in March while Congress considered legislation that would have forced the land exchange. But that legislation didn’t become law.
The environmental groups say the deal undervalues the federal land and violates other laws. PolyMet disputes that.
“We plan to renew our motions to dismiss the lawsuits in the near future. We expect this to have no effect on our ability to continue detailed engineering, construction financing and site preparation work on the NorthMet Project,” says PolyMet Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs, Bruce Richardson.