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Shutdown: Could Impact Mining Environmental Reviews

Updated: 10/03/2013 10:44 PM
Created: 10/03/2013 4:27 PM WDIO.com

The government shutdown could have an impact on when the much anticipated supplemental draft EIS for PolyMet is released. The release date had been announced as November 22nd.

That's because one of the lead agencies working on the document, the US Forest Service, is shut down.

The good news is, the US Army Corp of Engineers still has its project manager working on the document.

This information is from the Minnesota DNR, which is the third leg in a trio of lead agencies working on the project.

Chris Niskanen, a Communications Director for the DNR, said, "It's impossible at this point to say the shutdown will delay the EIS. In part, because no one knows how long this will last."

He added it's a fluid situation, and said they'll continue to monitor the situation and schedule as they get more information.

The Corp spokesman added that they have limited funding to keep people in some departments working through early next week. The Corp does work on permitting for projects like the Minntac extension.

Also, the MSHA mine inspectors are feeling the impact of the shutdown. According to other media reports, half of them have been furloughed. When we reached out to our local office, they passed us on to their headquarters, which did not return our request for answers.

St. Louis County has its own mine inspectors, who work independently of the MSHA inspectors. Terry O'Neil, the mine inspector, said they do confer on certain issues witih MSHA, but do their own duties and inspections.

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