A federal judge has put on hold four lawsuits filed by eight environmental groups to block a land swap that the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota needs to move forward.
U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen stayed the lawsuits while Congress considers legislation to force completion of the land exchange between PolyMet and the U.S. Forest Service. The bill passed the House last November and is pending in a Senate committee.
PolyMet wants to swap 6,650 acres of federal land in the Superior National Forest in return for a similar amount of private land. The Forest Service has agreed.
The environmental groups say the deal undervalues the federal land and violates other laws. PolyMet has disputed that.
In her order Tuesday, Ericksen denied PolyMet's motion to dismiss the lawsuits.