90 Day Polymet public comment period begins, citizens asked to participate

By KBJR News 1

December 9, 2013 Updated Dec 9, 2013 at 7:38 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Polymet's 90–day public comment period, which is one of many steps that needs to take place before the proposed copper nickel mining project can commence on the Iron Range, is officially underway.

The open comment period comes days after the release of the project's 2,200 page Environmental Impact Statement, created by numerous state and federal agencies.

The document examines the mine's potential impact on its surrounding environment.

Soudan resident and retired 30–year iron mine employee Bob Tammen held an open forum in Duluth Monday to highlight the significance of the 90 day comment period.

Tammen says the Polymet project would bring many environmental concerns with it, particularly regarding the possible contamination of area groundwater and watersheds.

"[Minnesota's] southern counties have a groundwater atlas, so they know what their groundwater is doing. St. Louis County does not have a groundwater atlas. We're supposed to believe that the mining company is going to go out there and do research that might inconvenience themselves," said Tammen during the open forum held at Duluth's Norway Hall. "I believe the state of Minnesota should be doing the research."

Proponents of the Polymet project highlight the EIS's prediction that no pollutants would cause an exceedence of contaminants in the water as a result of discharges from the mine.

They add the project would be a major economic boost to the region.