Sierra Club Raises Concerns over Massive Open Pit Mine in Superior National Forest
January 15, 2011
Sierra Club continues to challenge Polymet’s proposed NorthMet Mining Project, which would open pit mine hard rock minerals within the Superior National Forest in Minnesota. The project would have significant environmental impacts, including impacts to wild habitat for the threatened Canada Lynx.
In February 2010, Sierra Club submitted extensive comments on the NorthMet Project’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In our comments, the Club argued that the DEIS was inadequate because it failed to consider the project’s cumulative environmental impacts on several resources such as water quality, wildlife, wetlands and air quality, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. Also, while Polymet owns the subsurface mineral rights for the proposed NorthMet mine site, the U.S. Forest Service manages the surface rights, as the site is located on federal lands of the Superior National Forest. Polymet and the Forest Service are considering a federal land exchange, in which Polymet would obtain surface ownership rights, and the DEIS failed to consider the impacts of such an exchange.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also deemed the project environmentally unsatisfactory and inadequate in its comments, expressing concerns with the DEIS’ failure to properly weigh the project’s long term impacts on water quality and wetlands, among other things.
In October 2010, the Corps and Forest Service conceded that the federal land exchange was a connected action and agreed to issue a supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the project. In November 2010, Sierra Club provided scoping comments on the proposed land exchange, reiterating the need for an analysis that fully vets the proposed NorthMet Project’s cumulative environmental impacts as well as the land exchange impacts.
Details and Documents:
Sierra Club Scoping Comments on Proposed Land Exchange for Polymet's Proposed NorthMet Mine
November 29, 2010
Sierra Club Comments on NorthMet Project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement
February 3, 2010
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.