Leaked Email Raises new Questions About PolyMet Water Permit

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A leaked email has raised new questions about how state and federal regulators handled a major permit for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The e-mail asks Environmental Protection Agency officials not to file written comments on the water quality permit during Minnesota’s public comment period, which had the effect of keeping the federal regulators’ multiple criticisms out of the public record.

The Star Tribune reports the email appears to support accusations by PolyMet’s critics that the two agencies suppressed regulators’ concerns about pollution risks of the mine. The state approved the permit in December.

The e-mail from a top Minnesota Pollution Control Agency official was released Tuesday by the union representing employees of the EPA’s regional office in Chicago, which oversees Minnesota’s enforcement of federal pollution laws.

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