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.

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