By STEVE KARNOWSKI
MINNEAPOLIS - Top state officials have pushed back a discussion about a dispute over 77 mineral exploration leases in northeastern Minnesota.
The Executive Council, chaired by Gov. Mark Dayton, voted when it met in June to send the leases back to the Department of Natural Resources for more work after landowners objected. The subject was supposed to come up again at the council's meeting next Wednesday.
But Dayton spokeswoman Katie Tinucci says the governor met Thursday with his DNR and Iron Range Resources commissioners, and they decided to wait until a special meeting in early October. She says they wanted more time to notify the affected landowners.
One of those landowners, Ron Brodigan, of Isabella, doubts that's the real reason. He says he suspects the DNR just wanted to buy time.