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Jun 16, 2020

MCEA will defend ruling that overturned PolyMet air permit

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PRESS RELEASE: 6/16/2020           CONTACT: JT Haines, Northern Minnesota Advocate


ST. PAUL AND DULUTH, MINNESOTA – Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court announced it would review a ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals that overturned PolyMet’s air pollution permit. The decision today addressed appeals filed by MCEA on behalf of itself, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club as well as a consolidated appeal by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. 
Kathryn Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, issued the following statement: 
The evidence shows that PolyMet hasn’t told the full story. That’s why the Minnesota Court of Appeals expressed concern over “sham permitting” and told the MPCA to take a second look. The Court’s ruling was well reasoned, and the evidence since then has only gotten stronger about PolyMet’s true intentions. Minnesotans deserve to know the real size and scope of PolyMet’s dangerous mine proposal, and MCEA will defend our position at the Minnesota Supreme Court. 
On March 23rd, the Minnesota Court of Appeals struck down the PolyMet air pollution permit.  By claiming to be a "minor source" of air pollution, PolyMet evaded a more stringent permit requiring the best available technologies to limit air pollution. MPCA issued PolyMet a weaker "minor source" air pollution permit because PolyMet agreed to limit the size of its operation. But documents show that PolyMet already has its eye on a massive expansion, one that it told investors would increase the mine’s value by approximately 10 fold. The EPA calls this kind of bait and switch "sham permitting." 
Despite MCEA raising this issue repeatedly before MPCA issued the air pollution permit, MPCA did not address it. The Court of Appeals found that MPCA failed to explain why it had dismissed the sham permitting issue. The Court remanded (returned) the permit back to MPCA to look at the evidence concerning PolyMet's true intentions.  
The Court of Appeals decision on March 23rd marked the third time the Court of Appeals has reversed permits for PolyMet’s mining proposal. 
The order of the Supreme Court today did not set a time for oral arguments in the case.