Updated: 01/29/2014 1:38 PM
Created: 01/28/2014 11:25 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
A big crowd full of passion showed up in St. Paul Tuesday night for the final public meeting on the PolyMet mining project.
DNR officials said about 2,100 people showed up to the meeting at the RiverCentre. The crowd had mixed opinions of support or concern for the project.
PolyMet would be the first copper-nickel mine in Minnesota.
"If there was no mining on the Iron Range, the Iron Range wouldn't exist," Darrell Godbout, with Ironworkers Local 512, said.
"It's not ready for primetime," Steve Morse, with MN Environmental Partnership, said. "The EIS process is fundamentally flawed on a number of fronts. We think there should be more time for review."
Similar to the other two public meetings, people showed up in droves to share comments about the environmental impact statement for the PolyMet project. Some people even sacrificed gas.
"We ended up with three full buses from the Northland," Jobs for Minnesotans Chair Nancy Norr said. "We had a number of people driving."
This third meeting came after new data about possible increased water flow at the proposed mine site. A topic many people had on their minds.
"PolyMet dismisses the idea that fractures could push polluted water out without it being treated," Paula Maccabee, of Saint Paul, said.
"I trust the EPA is going to follow the laws," Godbout said. "Our job is to build it; their job is to make sure it stays clean."
The DNR even weighed in on the findings.
"What we need to do is we need to evaluate whether that data is of high enough quality and whether or not that data is likely to lead to some changes in the model," DNR official Steve Colvin said.
During the public hearing portion of the event, people were given three hours and three minutes each to share their opinions. The crowd was mixed with cheers and clapping after each speech.
Mining supporters were easier to spot because many were wearing hard hats.
"Let's not blow a chance to show the country what good copper-nickel mining looks like," Harry Melander said.
"It's a near certainty that there will be millions of dollars of clean up," Rob Davis said.
It's an issue that hits home for so many people, but each of these meetings has remained respectful. Something not surprising given our reputation.
"Minnesotans are at their core pretty good people," Colvin said.
The DNR said 640 people signed up to speak. 59 people spoke during the three-hour meeting.
This is the final meeting for the EIS report. You can still submit comments through March 13.
2 Campers Injured by Falling Trees in Northern St. Louis Co.
Two campers were injured by falling trees when a storm came through northern St. Louis County early Tuesday morning. Their injuries are not life-threatening.
14,000 Homes, Businesses Still Without Power after Storm
More than 14,000 homes and businesses in northeastern Minnesota remain without power after severe storms moved through the region early this morning. Lake Country Power and Minnesota Power reported outages spread across their service areas.
West Duluth Garage Fire Sparks during Early Morning Storms
A garage fire broke out in West Duluth early Tuesday morning as storms swept through the Northland. Flames fully engulfed the garage as the Duluth Fire Department responded. Downed power lines also brought Minnesota Power to the scene. No injuries were reported.
Teen Shot While Standing Outside Home
A 17-year-old girl was shot several times Monday night while standing on her deck in Eckles Township in Beltrami County. Authorities say they have a 40-year-old man in custody.
Dayton Seeks Pre-Election Release of MNsure Rates
Gov. Mark Dayton is pushing to publicize prices for Minnesota's health insurance exchange ahead of the fall election. Dayton's move comes after Republicans criticized his administration for not committing to release rates before the election.