PolyMet EIS delayed until November

range.jpgPolyMet’s Environmental Impact Statement won’t be released to the public until November, according to the Minnesota DNR. State and federal agencies reportedly have concluded their review of the mining company’s proposed plan to extract nonferrous minerals from northern Minnesota, but other agencies have input that needs to be included.

This represents another delay, albeit a modest one, of the longstanding goal of having public comments begin by the end of summer. Now we’ll be lucky to have a full picture of the debate’s next phase by the end of 2013.

PolyMet near Hoyt Lakes is the first nonferrous project under consideration for this area, with others — most notably Twin Metals of the Ely area — in the regulatory pipeline behind PolyMet. The issue has spurred great controversy because of the environmental differences between this form of mining and the iron mining that has gone on in the region for more than a century. The mine footprint is near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and attached to the Lake Superior watershed.

The region’s political infrastructure has, so far, placed the mining of nonferrous metals as its #1 job creation goal, despite the fact that it will take several years to litigate, permit and finance these projects.

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