Copyright © 2018 DFL Environmental Caucus  255 Plato Blvd, St Paul, MN 55107. Veda Kanitz, Chair.

Prepared and paid for by DFL Environmental Caucus.

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. 

More Info - Sulfide Mining

Mining Maps for Northeastern Minnesota

from Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

 

Fact Sheet from Duluth For Clean Water

Basic Fact: PolyMet proposes to hold 225 million tons of wet tailings behind a 250-foot earthen dam for 500 years. As part of this proposal, Minnesota is preparing to appropriate 6.2 billion gallons of water every year to PolyMet at eight dollars per million gallons, far less than the cost to citizens.

 

There are several key things to know regarding this basic fact:

 

1. Financial Risk: Minnesota taxpayers would be on the hook for $1 billion in cleanup costs by peak production because the financial assurance package benefits investors first. The agreement allows the promise of surety bonds and letters of credit (which the state's own hired experts say are unlikely to be secured by PolyMet) to bridge the gap between the mine's environmental liabilities and the small amount of cash that it would place in trust funds. Financial experts consider the proposed project “shaky” and financially marginal, which is a key determinant for mines with poor safety records. In order to appear viable, the mine would need to be four times the size of what has been proposed.

 

2. Not Best Practices: PolyMet and state officials have long promised "best practices" if this copper sulfide mine is to move forward, but neither the upstream design nor wet tailings storage is considered best practices. The DNR's own consultants describe the earthen tailings basin as inherently unstable and destined to fail, and upstream earthen dam construction is being abandoned worldwide as a discredited technology. After their most recent dam failure, Brazil has actually banned this method. Bloomberg. This is astounding news that has not been addressed in Minnesota.  

3. No Health Assessment: Dams leak. Tailings facilities leak. Organizations representing thousands of health care professionals in Minnesota called for a long-term health impact assessment re: the PolyMet proposal. This was a highly unusual and really important demand from these professionals, yet no impact assessment was ordered by the DNR. To be clear, we do not know what the human impact would be of this mine. We do know, however, that methylmercury–which causes brain and spinal damage–affects people, especially newborns, babies, and children, and is already at elevated levels in downstream communities. (Health Professionals Letter in DNT)

 

4. No Emergency Plan. In the event that there were a dam failure in Minnesota like those in Canada (2014) and Brazil (2015 and 2019), downstream communities are unprepared: no emergency plan has been communicated by the company or state officials to cities like Duluth.

 

5. No Current Need for Copper: We have other sources of metals, but it is a fresh water crisis that for the past eight years the World Economic Forum has deemed one of the top five risks to humanity. Regarding the need for copper for wind turbines–we are in agreement–but what boosters of PolyMet do not discuss is that copper is infinitely recyclable, and an embarrassingly small amount of copper and "e-waste" is currently recycled in the U.S. Sources such as old phone lines replaced by fiber-optics also haven't been part of the discussion. PolyMet would add a super-small amount  (.2%) [read that again: POINT-TWO...not even 1%] to the global supply, while Lake Superior provides 10% of the world's surface fresh water.

March 2019

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DFLEC Letter to Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan, requesting that the Governor stay all permits issued for the PolyMet Mine. 

 

July 1, 2019

Dear Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan,

We are deeply concerned about the reported omission of Environmental Protection Agency comments to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during the permitting process for the proposed PolyMet Mine.

Minnesotans depend on the MPCA to protect their soil and water, and to honor treaty rights of the Ojibwe tribal nation to protect hunting, fishing and gathering on sacred, native lands. If, in fact, the permitting process has been compromised, it would leave every Minnesotan wondering if their loved ones and their communities are truly protected by the agency charged with that very mission.

As you know, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered an evidentiary hearing into MPCA’s conduct because it found “substantial evidence of procedural irregularities” in regard to the NPDES Permit. It has transferred the case to Ramsey County District Court to conduct hearings into the MPCA permitting process. We look forward to learning exactly what happened and if any decisions may have compromised the future safety of citizens or the environment.

On behalf of the DFL Environmental Caucus, we ask that you stay all permits issued for the PolyMet Mine until this issue has been properly investigated and resolved. We remain concerned that the proposed mine will put future generations of Minnesotans at risk of economic, environmental, climate, and health catastrophes.

Governor Walz, Lt. Governor Flanagan, thank you in advance for taking this prudent step to safeguard Minnesota’s future. Minnesota’s citizens know they can count on you to do the right thing.

With gratitude for your leadership and service,

 

Veda Kanitz, Chair
DFL Environmental Caucus

 

Vice Chair Rich Updegrove, CD 8 

Treasurer Lawrence Sandoval, CD2 

Secretary Kristin Larsen, CD8 

Outreach Officer Karl Forsberg, CD2

 

Board Members

Phil Adam, CD3, Lawrence Baker, CD4, Megan Bond, CD8. Barb Courneya, CD6 

Barb Crow, CD8, Matt Doll, CD4, Heidi Edmonson, CD2, Al Frechette, CD2

Andy Hillebregt, Jr., CD6, Steve Johnson, CD4, Greg Laden, CD3, Jennifer McEwen, CD8

Ann Mozey, CD6, Lorraine Rovig, CD2, Sandy Sandoval, CD2, John Wells, CD2

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PAST ARTICLES

Two-year copper-nickel mining study could get new life

Timberjay 10/2/2019, Marshall Helmberger

Federal judge rejects challenges to PolyMet land swap

Star Tribune 10/1/2019, Steve Karnowski, AP

Why former Gov. Arne Carlson, once a pro-business Republican, is now fighting PolyMet

Duluth News Tribune 9/23/2019, Jimmy Lovrien 

Minnesota Court of Appeals suspends two PolyMet permits

Duluth News Tribune 9/18/2019, Adelle Whitefoot 

Local View: Glencore, DNT must take PolyMet concerns more seriously

Duluth News Tribune 9/14/2019 

Ricky DeFoe, Babette Sandman, Skip Sandman, and Stephan Witherspoon

Email release raises new questions on PolyMet, mining regulation

MinnPost 9/13/2019, Marshall Helmberger

In Minnesota, when it comes to pro-sulfide-mining rhetoric, look for what is missing

Duluth Reader 9/12/2019, Carla Arneson

Should we mine copper and nickel in Minnesota … to help defeat climate change?

MinnPost 9/11/2019, Walker Orenstein

Fond du Lac Band, environmental groups sue US Army Corps of Engineers over PolyMet permit

Duluth News Tribune 9/10/2019, Jimmy Lovrien

Local View: Glencore, DNT must take PolyMet concerns more seriously

Duluth News Tribune 9/14/2019 

Ricky DeFoe, Babette Sandman, Skip Sandman, and Stephan Witherspoon

Email release raises new questions on PolyMet, mining regulation

MinnPost 9/13/2019, Marshall Helmberger

In Minnesota, when it comes to pro-sulfide-mining rhetoric, look for what is missing

Duluth Reader 9/12/2019, Carla Arneson

Should we mine copper and nickel in Minnesota … to help defeat climate change?

MinnPost 9/11/2019, Walker Orenstein

Fond du Lac Band, environmental groups sue US Army Corps of Engineers over PolyMet permit

Duluth News Tribune 9/10/2019, Jimmy Lovrien

Just Twin Metals in worries about safety secrecy?

Star Tribune 8/27/2019, Christopher D. Knopf

Concerns about PolyMet very real; time to take them seriously

Duluth News Tribune 8/25/2019, Scott Beauchamp

Elizabeth Warren comes out against Line 3 and Twin Metals, and Minnesota construction unions are not happy

MinnPost 8/20/2019, Walker Orenstein

Ramsey County judge sets rules for inquiry on disputed PolyMet permit

Star Tribune 8/7/2019, Jennifer Bjorhus

Court of Appeals puts PolyMet permit on hold

Timberjay 8/7/2019, Marshall Hellmberg

DNR won't reconsider dam permits to PolyMet

Duluth News Tribune 8/7/2019, Brady Slater

Court of Appeals upholds rules regulating PolyMet

Duluth News Tribune 8/5/2019, Jimmy Lovrien

Clean water or copper mining? More states are protecting vital watersheds

Duluth News Tribune 8/5/2019/2019, David Lien

Twin Metals changes its plan to deal with mine waste — to a strategy lauded by some environmentalists

MinnPost 7/18/2019, Walker Orenstein

EPA pushed for tighter, more enforceable PolyMet water permit

Duluth News Tribune 7/17/2019, Jimmy Lovrien

PolyMet is now owned by Switzerland’s Glencore. Why it matters

MinnPost 6/28/2019, Walker Orenstein

Glencore now a majority shareholder of PolyMet

Duluth News Tribune 6/27/2019, Jimmy Lovrien

PolyMet permits in doubt? Legislative auditor to review allegations against MPCA

Timberjay 6/26/2019, Marshall Hellmberger

Minnesotans protest planned PolyMet mine at Toronto shareholders meeting

MPR News 6/26/2019, Elizabeth Dunbar

Protesters oppose Minnesota mine at PolyMet AGM in Toronto

CBC News ·6/26/2019

EDITORIAL: An award for polluting

Timberjay 6/26/2019

PolyMet, the EPA, and the accusations against the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, explained

MinnPost 6/21/2019, Walker Orenstein

Federal Watchdog Opens Inquiry into EPA Handling of Minnesota PolyMet Pollution Permit

Star Tribune 6/14/2019, By Jennifer Bjorhus 

EPA Releases Long-Sought Comments on PolyMet Permit

Timberjay 6/12/2019, By Marshall Helmberger

Trump Administration in a Rush to Judgment Over Twin Metals

Timberjay 5/29/2019, By Marshall Helmberger

Court of Appeals Denies Latest Challenge to PolyMet Project

MinnPost 5/29/2019, By Brian Lambert 

After gaining permits, PolyMet leaves some investors in the cold

Hibbing Daily Tribune 5/25/2019, by Aaron Brown

Copper mining dangers: Bold leadership is needed from Walz

MinnPost 4/1/2019, By Gov. Arne Carlson and Janet Entzel