Thursday, July 16, 2015

More evidence that Minnesota is now failing on the environmental scorecard

Citing MPCA weakness, group asks feds to step in on mining's water pollution

By Ron Meador | 07/15/15

As Minnesota moves toward completing environmental review of Polymet Mining Co.’s NorthMet copper/nickel project later this year, brace yourself for the constant refrain from mining companies, industry regulators and supportive elected officials at all levels:

Large-scale mining of sulfide ores may be new to this state, but Minnesotans can rest assured that it will be done without damage to our treasured north woods. No mining permits will be issued unless the applicants comply with all the laws and rules that make Minnesota a national leader in protecting the air, the water and the forests – with decades of problem-free taconite mining to show for its efforts.

There are compelling counter-narratives, of course, and it might be hard to find one more on point than the petition filed this month by Paula Maccabee and Water Legacy with theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Its claim: Regulation of taconite mining’s water pollution has been so weak for so long that EPA should reverse its longstanding delegation of enforcement responsibility to theMinnesota Pollution Control Agency, and take the Clean Water Act back into federal hands.

(Continued here.)


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