EPA Looking into Polymet Permits
WASHINGTON, D.C.-According to a memo from the Office of the Inspector General with the Environmental Protection Agency, an audit is now underway regarding a complaint connected with Polymet Mining Company’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
The objective is to determine whether the EPA followed appropriate Clean Water Act and NPDES regulations for the Polymet permit approved in 2018 in Minnesota.
Minnesota regulators are defending the process for approving a key permit for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine proposed in northeastern Minnesota.
Newly released documents show that staffers with the EPA criticized how the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency drafted the water quality permit, and concluded that the permit would violate federal law because it lacked pollution limits based on the state’s water quality standards.
But MPCA spokesman Darin Broton says the permitting process was rigorous. He says the MPCA and EPA had frequent conversations during the entire permitting process.
Based on those conversations, he says, as well as other comments received from the public during the official comment period, the MPCA made substantive changes to the draft permit.
He says that’s why the EPA did not object to the MPCA’s final permit.