EPA backs final environmental review for PolyMet mine

PolyMet's concentrator building near Aurora, Minn.
The concentrator building Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, at PolyMet near Aurora, Minn.
Derek Montgomery | File for MPR News 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency says the final environmental review for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine adequately addresses comments it made about earlier drafts of the massive document and says its remaining concerns can be addressed later.

The EPA weighed in Monday with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as the public comment period closed.

The EPA says its remaining concerns about the direction of groundwater flow from the mine, impacts on wetlands, health risks from mineral fibers and the impacts to moose can and should be addressed when other federal agencies sign off on the review, and when regulators consider permits for the mine.

Environmental attorney Paula Maccabee says this means the fight against PolyMet is no longer about the environmental impact statement, it now turns to the permitting process.

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