MCEA filed suit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Essar Steel (formerly Minnesota Steel Industries) in September 2007, arguing that the environmental impact statement prepared for the proposed open-pit taconite mine and steel mill near Nashwauk was flawed because it did not look seriously at the project’s global warming implications. MCEA also pointed out that the EIS didn’t consider possible alternatives to reduce the amount of emissions that would be generated by the mine and steel mill.
Itasca District Court Judge Jon Maturi ruled in October that the DNR had “minimally satisfied” the rules in the environmental impact statement it prepared, which disappointed MCEA. Judge Maturi opined that the state’s existing environmental review law isn’t sufficiently developed to consider climate change. In his ruling, he stated that the law “does not seem to be up to the task of analyzing how greenhouse gas emissions from projects like MSI should be accounted for on the local, regional, state, national, and even global scale.” MCEA appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled against MCEA in September 2009, saying that the DNR had done a sufficient job of analyzing the global warming pollution from the plant. However, MCEA saw the decision as a partial victory because for the first time, a court accepted the idea that Minnesota's environmental review laws extend to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
U.S. Steel has recently proposed to expand its Keetac mining operation. MCEA submited comments on the proposted air and water permits related to this expansion. Learn more about MCEA's work on the Keetac mine here.
Read MCEA's complaint against Essar Steel.
Read Judge Maturi's ruling in the case.
Read MCEA's recent comments on the new Environmental Review for Essar Steel.