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Big Win for PolyMet Water Permit

Big Win for PolyMet Water Permit

Congratulations are in order for PolyMet, as the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled favorably on several key issues pertaining to the company’s water discharge permit. As expected, the court ruled the PCA’s decision to issue permits for the NorthMet project was made lawfully and followed procedure every step of the way. PolyMet’s permits demonstrate compliance with all federal, state and tribal water quality standards and should not be subjected to contested-case hearings. Project opponents have gone to great lengths to find procedural inconsistencies. MPCA  will have to conduct a functional-equivalence analysis to meet the new precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in the County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund case.

We continue to place our trust in the process, and we echo PolyMet’s confidence in the science behind its plans for protecting the environment through responsible mining. Better In Our Back Yard supports responsible industrial development in Minnesota. The NorthMet project represents a positive step forward toward Minnesota’s sustainability goals. We can only transition to clean energy infrastructure if we can access the copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals found right here in our backyard.


Better in Our Back Yard is extremely disappointed in the Biden Administration’s unnecessary demand for another generic 2-year environmental study on the Rainy River watershed. Twin Metals has already spent over a decade studying the surrounding environment and any potential impacts from mining.

This directive goes against all efforts to address the climate crisis. The clean energy sources and electric vehicles necessary for a more sustainable future are wholly dependent on domestic mineral extraction. Two years of study won’t uncover anything new. It will simply delay the project, again. This withdrawal action is completely unnecessary and unfortunate for Minnesota. We need Twin Metals and the 750+ jobs and significant private investment it will bring to our state now, not two years from now.


Yesterday was a huge day for responsible industry. Better in Our Back Yard (BIOBY) celebrates the official completion of the Line 3 Replacement Project! After eight years of steadfast work, Enbridge completed a full replacement of the 1,097-mile-long pipeline from Edmonton, AB to Superior, WI. 

Replacing the pipeline was an essential step in creating a more safe and reliable means of transport for natural resources. The new pipeline has been strengthened with state-of-the-art, thicker-walled pipe designed to protect the environment and support millions of people with access to a reliable, low-cost energy source.

The project proves northern Minnesota’s commitment to completing projects the right way. A thriving industrial sector depends on responsible, sustainable, safe work to repair aging infrastructure, explore metal and mineral resources, and manage natural resources. 
The Line 3 Replacement project has created economic benefits during unprecedented times for Minnesota’s small businesses, Native American communities and union members. Safe, reliable transportation of natural resources is essential to sustaining and strengthening Northern Minnesota communities for years to come.  

Strong Industry. Strong Minnesota.

Dear Minnesotans,

We’re standing at the starting line of the next generation. Of a better future. Of a revitalized economy that supports both industry and a green economy. But something is blocking the way: those who oppose every industrial project, no matter what, regardless of facts, science, or the needs of all Minnesotans.

We have to stop letting the voices of a few stand in the way of the needs of the rest of us. This is bigger than the Iron Range and bigger than Minnesota. We’re talking about the future of the entire globe—the power to start something new and great lies here with us.

We’ve got exceptional projects in the works that will usher in a new, greener economy for everyone. A strong industrial sector is critical to a stronger Minnesota.

Ending our dependence on fossil fuels can’t happen overnight. We must protect the environment and infrastructure today so that we can move safely toward renewable energy resources tomorrow. That’s the idea behind Line 3.

Clean energy infrastructure won’t just pop into existence. It will take significant resources, including metals and minerals. Recycling alone won’t cover the demand. We need raw materials to build wind turbines, electric car batteries, solar panels, and more. The materials have to come from somewhere, and responsible mining is the best way forward. That’s what PolyMet and Twin Metals can provide.

But not if projects can’t get permitted.

Over and over again, opponents are grasping at straws to delay the very projects that will make headway toward a brighter future. They’re picking apart permits that trusted agencies awarded after the science demonstrated capabilities to operate well within regulations.

Here’s the worst kept secret on the Iron Range: PolyMet and Twin Metals don’t want to pollute. That would be bad for both the environment and for business. It’s extremely costly to remediate, so preventing pollution at all costs is essential. That’s why they spend decades researching, testing and making sure projects can operate responsibly and meet the standards in place.

Here’s another secret: PolyMet and Twin Metals are committed to transparency. The public comment process is open to everyone. Anyone can dive in to learn as much about the project as they want.

Instead of listening to opposition groups, or us for that matter, take a look yourself. Look at the research and make your own decisions on what is right for our state, our country and the world. Then contact your legislators to make sure they hear and listen to your opinions. They’re certainly hearing from project opponents who aren’t telling the whole story and don’t represent the best interests of all Minnesotans.

We trust that you’ll see things with an open, clear mind and that you’ll support a future with a strong industry, a stable environment and, most importantly, happy, healthy people who can enjoy living life to the fullest.


Better In Our Back Yard (BIOBY) applauds Twin Metal Minnesota on becoming the first mining company in Minnesota to adopt battery vehicle technology. Twin Metals announced today it is converting the mine’s vehicle fleets from diesel to electric and strengthening its commitment to the fight against climate change by further minimizing the project’s footprint. 

This is an exciting move, one that perfectly blends responsible industry with environmental stewardship. Electric vehicles will reduce the project’s onsite greenhouse gas emissions, decrease power requirements and maintenance needs, improve noise and air quality, and, most importantly, increase worker safety.

PolyMet Air Permit Statement

Better in Our Back Yard (BIOBY) is disappointed in the Minnesota Court of Appeal’s decision to send PolyMet’s air permit back. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency awarded the air permit in 2018 after careful review of the facts and science presented in PolyMet’s emissions calculations.

Remanding the permit now effectively undermines the MPCA’s decision-making process and opens the door for an endless loop of unnecessary reinvestigation. It’s not the right thing to do, and it’s not how we like to do business in Minnesota. PolyMet has been transparent throughout the process, only to be challenged and delayed by project opponents at every possible opportunity.

BIOBY is frustrated by this lack of decorum and urges Minnesotans to read between the lines yet again. Industry plays by the rules, but opponents seize every opportunity to rewrite the longstanding, carefully designed permitting process. Minnesota is ready to support renewable and clean energy technologies. Let us.

It’s time to stop listening to Friends of the Boundary Waters.

Lying. Misrepresenting facts to suit their own interests. Doubling down even when they’re wrong. When friends act like this, they’re on a fast track to ostracizing the people they care about most. It’s friendship-ending behavior, and it’s unacceptable.

Nobody should be friends with the Friends of the Boundary Waters anymore. They’re toxic. They’re so far down their self-created rabbit hole of stopping PolyMet that they’re clinging to untruths and refusing to accept the very facts and science they claim make their case. Why would “friends” operate in such a fashion? Well, to fund their very existence, that’s why. Misrepresenting facts is their attempt to draw in financial support and who wants to fund a losing cause?

The facts and science are on PolyMet’s side. Always have been.


The Supreme Court was unpersuaded by Friends’ policy arguments and has limited a contested case hearing to only one narrow issue concerning bentonite.

Friends wanted a full, open-ended contested case hearing that would delay PolyMet’s progress significantly. This isn’t a win for Friends. Not by a long shot. But they want their supporters to think it is.


PolyMet will NOT violate the Clean Water Act.

Friends wants to paint the MN Pollution Control agency as reckless, when in fact the PCA’s permit protects groundwater and surface water. It strictly prohibits PolyMet from violating water quality standards or degrading groundwater and requires more and better water quality protections than any mining permit in Minnesota history. There will be no Clean Water Act violations. Period.


The Supreme Court found no broad effort to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from submitting comments.

There’s no dark underbelly here. Nobody tried to prevent anyone at the EPA from submitting comments or raising concerns. Friends wants their supporters to believe that the  PCA destroyed documents and concealed an EPA scientist’s concerns around Clean Water Act violations. It didn’t and this accusation is wildly ridiculous. The facts were all on the table. The court reviewed and addressed them all. Again, PolyMet will not violate the Clean Water Act.


PolyMet will adhere to strict state and federal guidelines. One does not outweigh the other.

Friends wants their supporters to blindly believe that PolyMet is going to break the rules and violate Minnesota’s strict water quality standards. It’s absurd to suggest that PolyMet’s wastewater permit would allow the company to discharge at unallowable limits. The state’s standards are more stringent than federal limits, and PolyMet’s water treatment plan clearly demonstrates the company’s ability to operate within the required parameters.

Friends of the Boundary Waters is quite savvy at positioning their claims as science and fact-based, but in reality, they’re pulling at emotional strings and saying all the right buzzwords to fire up their support base. 

Look beyond these outlandish claims and trust the ACTUAL science. Remember that PolyMet’s permits were granted after 15 years worth of research and testing. Remember that PolyMet isn’t some big, bad corporation. It’s a company made up of people who live and work in Northeast Minnesota. They care about protecting the environment and our state’s future, too. They know mining and environmental stewardship go hand in hand, and they believe PolyMet is going to prove that we can do this right.


Better in Our Back Yard (BIOBY) is proud to support Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project and understands that decisions regarding industrial projects of this magnitude are often met with challenges from project opponents.

We applaud the MN Court of Appeals rulings today to uphold the project’s Certificate of Need, Route Permit and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). These decisions are in the state’s best interest, as the project is timely and necessary for protecting the environment, creating good-paying jobs for Minnesotans and growing the regional economy. The decision further validates all of the hard work that Enbridge has put in to show why Line 3 is what’s best for Northern Minnesota communities.

BIOBY stands firmly behind Enbridge and the Line 3 Replacement Project. Safe, reliable transportation of natural resources is essential to strengthening our economy for years to come.


Better In Our Back Yard congratulates DNR and PolyMet for a big win today as it takes another important step in making the NorthMet project a reality. Today’s ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court effectively resolved a key legal challenge regarding PolyMet’s Permit to Mine and dam safety permits. The Court overturned a lower court decision that ordered an open-ended contested case hearing, instead limiting the hearing to one specific narrow issue.

As demand grows for renewable energy technologies, PolyMet gives Minnesota the opportunity to lead the way in responsibly extracting the minerals needed for a thriving green energy economy while providing 300+ family-supporting jobs and generating billions in private investments to a region that has beens struggling economically for decades.

Better In Our Back Yard is proud to support PolyMet as it works to open Minnesota’s first non-ferrous mine. After 16 years of regulatory review, we believe that PolyMet has proven that it will mine safely and responsibly.

Ryan Sistad
Executive Director
Better In Our Back Yard