The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has declined to extend the public comment period for the environmental review of the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine.
About two dozen environmental groups asked the DNR to extend the comment period from 90 days to 180 days. They wanted more time to analyze the complex study and to address what they say are newly discovered gaps in the document.
"This is a terribly complex problem. We still are struggling to understand everything that is in this document, along with the reference materials, the supporting documentation that isn't even part of the 2,200+ pages," said Steve Morse executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, one of the groups that requested the extension. "There is precedent for extending it, and we're disappointed they haven't."
The DNR says 90 days is already on the upper end for similar reviews nationwide. The agency says more than 19,000 people have commented so far. The period ends on March 13.