Five Minnesota conservation groups are suing the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board to reverse a loan to PolyMet Mining.
The IRRRB's board approved a $4 million loan to PolyMet in December, intended to help PolyMet acquire Forest Service land for a mine some people believe will create long-lasting sulfuric acid pollution. The project remains under review.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency filed objections to a draft environmental impact statement. The conservation groups contend that state financial support for a project still under review violates Minnesota's Environmental Policy Act.
"We're concerned that it sends an improper, inaccurate message to the public and to policy makers that the project has been approved, when in fact it has not yet received that approval," said Betsy Daub, policy director with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
Joining Daub's organization is the Center for Biological Diversity, The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Save Lake Superior Association and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
The IRRRB declined to respond, saying it has not yet been served with the complaint.