Final Polymet hearing in St. Paul draws crowd of 2,100

By KBJR News 1

January 28, 2014 Updated Jan 28, 2014 at 10:45 PM CST

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - More than 2,000 people attended the final of three hearings surrounding a proposed copper-nickel mine in St. Paul Tuesday.

The attendance at the RiverCentre was about the same as the two public hearings in Duluth and Aurora combined.

The purpose of the hearings is to collect comments for and against the Polymet Project slated for Hoyt Lakes on the Iron Range.

Supporters say Copper Nickel mining can be done right, creating economic benefits that impact everyone.

Opponents questioned whether this type of mining can be done in a way that's clean and safe.

"If you're going to invest millions of dollars in cleaning up over the next 500 years let's invest millions of dollars in creating clean, renewable jobs, jobs that last 500 years," said Rob Davis from Minneapolis.

"We can say we're not going to do it. Yep. But you're all going to use your phones and we're all going to use our computers and we're all going to use medical technology. It's a risk I believe has to be taken," said Hoyt Lakes Mayor Mark Skelton.

The final public hearing is part of a long process. Government regulators will consider thousands of comments, then issue a final environmental impact statement.

More public comment will follow.