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PolyMet Air Permit Statement

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.

Fact:

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.

Fact:

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.

Fact:

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.

Fact:

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.

POSITIVE COURT RULING FOR LINE 3 PROJECT

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.

CONGRATULATIONS DNR AND POLYMET

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

PolyMet Wetlands Permit Statement

Yet again, PolyMet NorthMet project opponents continue to twist information to misinform the public and their supporters.

The latest jab involves the US Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to suspend PolyMet’s wetlands permit during the EPA’s 90-day review. This is part of an EPA process currently underway to review downstream water quality under the Clean Water Act. PolyMet has been cooperating fully in this review process.

There have been six state and federal cases over the past several months regarding various NorthMet permit decisions. To date, PolyMet has received favorable decisions in all six cases that have reached a final conclusion – four federal and two state.

Better in Our Back Yard is confident the outcome of this process will be no different.

IN THE LONG TERM, SCIENCE WILL PREVAIL

Yesterday, the EPA filed a voluntary motion to remand its downstream water quality decision. The action pertains to section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act. Under the law, when the Corps of Engineers plans to issue a section 404 wetlands permit, EPA has to consider whether discharges under the Corps’ permit “may affect” water quality in a downstream state or tribal reservation.

The action allows EPA to conduct a 90-day review of the evidence so it can issue an explicit finding under section 401(a)(2) to the Army Corps of Engineers.

When the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued its certification in 2018, the science showed that PolyMet’s NorthMet project has no downstream water quality effects, and the EPA has never said otherwise. The science was on the side of the project then, and the company says it is confident the science will again prevail in the review.

Better In Our Back Yard proudly supports PolyMet as they plan to fully participate in the process, and we’re confident that the science will once again show that PolyMet can responsibly mine the minerals needed for a green energy economy while protecting the region’s pristine environment.