Supporters and opponents of a controversial copper-nickel mining proposal are making one last push to get people to comment on the project's environmental study.
The Department of Natural Resources has already received 39,000 comments on PolyMet's supplemental draft environmental impact statement.
Those critical of the project have also been sending comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is expected to comment on the PolyMet study this week.
"And the goal basically is we just want to make sure the EPA knows that people are paying attention to their role in the process, too," said Aaron Klemz spokesman for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, one of the groups behind the Mining Truth campaign. "Obviously the DNR is the key actor here in Minnesota, but the EPA's actions on the comments that they're required to file by statute are going to be really important for how people treat the document moving forward."
The EPA's comments four years ago led PolyMet to make several changes to the project.
PolyMet's supporters say they have been sending comments both to the DNR and elected officials.
DNR officials asked the public to comment on the technical aspects of the draft environmental impact statement.
But the DNR has also received thousands of comments from supporters and opponents hoping to sway future decisions on the proposal.
Mining supporters have gone beyond contacting the DNR, said Nancy Norr of Jobs for Minnesotans.
"We've encouraged our supporters as they submit written comments to the DNR to send a note to their local elected official, their federal delegation members as well as Governor Dayton. Certainly it's a regulatory process and the agencies have done a tremendous job, but we want our elected officials to understand the base of support exists for this project."
Mining opponents say more than 8,000 people have submitted comments through the Mining Truth website.
The last day to comment on the PolyMet study is Thursday.