For and Against: Clash of Wills Over PolyMet and Permits

Updated: February 08, 2018 10:49 PM

A crowd of about 800 strong attended what could be the last final public hearing about PolyMet and their permits. The DECC had extra security on hand for the event. PolyMet is considered a controversial project, with both passionate support and intense opposition to this proposed precious metals venture.

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There were dueling rallies ahead of time, with the environmental groups in one room and mining advocates in another. Although only separated by a few hallways, the ideologies are miles apart.

At his rally, DFL state senator Dave Tomassoni said multiple times, "It's time to mine."

And at the other, Gary Anderson, a Duluth City Councilor, said, "We are standing up for water. Water is life."

Those same sentiments were echoed in the ballroom, where people had three minutes to speak. 

The environmental group handed out orange handkerchiefs, which they waved when they approved of a speaker. The other side used their blue hats, in response. You were not supposed to clap for the speakers.

One powerful moment was when St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson ceded a minute of his time. "To my friends in labor, who want to use their two hands to clap now, and work later, at PolyMet."

Although the room looked fairly even, in terms of support and opposition, more people opposed to the project spoke Thursday night.

Agency leaders have said it's not whether or not they like the project, it's about if it can meet state standards.

You can still comment on the permits through a portion of March. Here's the link:


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