www.mnaction.org Tuesday, September 02, 2014  

Comment by February 3 on the PolyMet copper mine EIS

You can take action on this alert by reading the information below and following the directions at the bottom.

Issue

Toxic-producing sulfide metal mining, first environmental review

Background

The PolyMet project is the first toxic sulfide metal mine seeking permits in Minnesota. It would directly and indirectly destroy over 1,500 acres of wetlands and usher in an avalanche of other open-pit copper and nickel mines across the state, starting in Northern Minnesota. Mining and minerals processing would violate water quality standards and increase mercury in fish, while Acid Mine Drainage would continue for thousands of years.

Unlike iron mining, copper mining typically exposes sulfur-bearing rock that creates sulfuric acid and leaches toxic metals when exposed to air and water. The Acid Mine Drainage would continue for hundreds of years. The public has a short window to submit comments and demand a complete assessment and publishing of ALL known potential impacts and legal requirements. According to independent reviews by the Tribal agencies and the U.S. EPA, the current DEIS is very incomplete.

Seize this unique opportunity to prevent pollution from the first open-pit sulfide mine in Minnesota’s water-rich environment by sending comments opposing the current PolyMet plans and demanding a complete and candid evaluation of ALL cumulative environmental harms.

We would all be liable to pay for mistakes by this risky sulfide mine. National Superfund sites already have cost taxpayers enduring damage and hundreds of millions for attempted cleanup.

Public expression about the mine plan and DEIS will be critical in saving our lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater from permanent Acid Mine Drainage pollution. We have a unique opportunity to expose inadequacies in first proposed toxic-producing sulfide metal mine seeking permits in Minnesota. We can do this NOW, during the public comment period by registering our demands for the complete assessment and publishing of ALL known potential impacts and legal requirements. (The DEIS is far from complete.)

The PolyMet copper mine project would usher in an avalanche of such devastating mines parallel to the iron oxide formations and mines, and the Acid Mine Drainage would continue for thousands of years.

NOW is the time for citizens to have a say at http://www.waterlegacy.org/

Fortunately, both the Tribal agencies and the US EPA have pointed out serious inadequacies in the PolyMet/NorthMet DEIS. Unfortunately, the lead agencies, MDNR and USACE, have ignored or whitewashed many substantive problems. Before PolyMet can be considered for permits, the gaps must be filled and legal requirements met during environmental review.

Comments are critical to this project receiving adequate scrutiny. Many of our groups have been working hard on drafting substantive comments. Now, we need thousands of citizens to register their concerns, so that this project receives adequate scrutiny.

More Info

Message To Be Sent To
Your message will be sent to each of the following targets:

Mr. Jon K. Ahlness
Mr. Stuart Arkley
Message
A sample message appears below, which you may edit before sending.

Comment on the PolyMet Draft Environmental Impact Statement


Dear Mr. Arkley and Mr. Ahlness:

I am writing to you as a citizen of Minnesota concerned about the PolyMet sulfide mining project proposed on 6,700 acres of public land in the Superior National Forest.

Sulfide mining would be new to Minnesota. In other locations, sulfide mining has resulted in acid mine drainage, causing extensive and expensive damage to water quality and the environment. Often, taxpayers have been stuck with the costs. The PolyMet project in Minnesota is predicted to degrade water quality, increase mercury in fish, destroy wetlands and peat bogs, fragment the habitat of endangered species, and interfere with tribal treaty rights and tribal resources, like wild rice. The project also could increase air pollution that results in regional haze and could create a risk of perpetual pollution without adequate financial assurance that the public won't end up paying the costs.

Both, the Tribal agencies and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have pointed out serious inadequacies in the PolyMet/NorthMet Draft environmental impact statement (EIS). Before Polymet can be considered for permits, those gaps NEED to be filled, particularly:

1) Analyze the land that is to be exchanged for Superior National Forest land to make this project possible. Include impacts of the land swap on wetlands, endangered species, hydrology, tribal rights, and taxpayers' interests.

2) As the U.S. EPA suggested, financial assurances for the public MUST be included in the EIS long before any permitting process gets underway.

3) Analyze ALL of the CUMULATIVE impacts (air and water) of increased mercury in fish from the PolyMet project and other nearby pollution sources. Mercury in accumulates in fish and causes brain damage to children and to fetuses.

4) Get better information on existing pollution, the nature of wetlands, endangered species, wild rice stands and other resources that would be affected by the project.

5) Require the PolyMet Company to show that its waste rock and tailings piles won’t collapse and dump uncontrolled pollution into nearby waters and that they will not create water pollution that lasts for hundreds or thousands of years.

Please take the time to add supplements to the draft EIS and give people in Minnesota a fair chance to know what impact the PolyMet project would have on our State the Lake Superior basin.

Your name and address here


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