State agency heads nix PolyMet public health impact review

The concentrator building runs almost half a mile
PolyMet's concentrator building near Aurora, Minn., photographed Oct. 10, 2013, stretches for almost half a mile.
Derek Montgomery | For MPR News 2013

State agencies have decided against conducting a public health impact analysis on the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine.

In a memo to Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday, three state agency heads say the final environmental impact statement for the project, released last month, adequately addresses the public health impacts already.

The commissioners of health, natural resources and the Pollution Control Agency say a separate health impact analysis would not significantly add to the information already available for evaluating PolyMet's permit applications. They say a separate analysis could cause delays and confusion. And they say it could call into question the completeness and adequacy of the final environmental impact statement.

Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson says the governor concurs.

PolyMet opponents say the mine could contaminate water with sulfates, mercury and other pollutants.

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