Land Exchange Amendment for PolyMet Passes Senate

A bill finalizing the land exchange for PolyMet has passed the U.S. Senate. A bill finalizing the land exchange for PolyMet has passed the U.S. Senate. |  Photo: WDIO

Created: June 19, 2018 12:02 PM

On Monday, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation for a land exchange between the Forest Service and PolyMet. 

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Passage of the legislation marks another major milestone in PolyMet's development of Minnesota's first copper-nickel-precious metals mine, located near Hoyt Lakes. 

The land exchange measure was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed on a 85-10 vote in the Senate. The amendment was introduced by Senator Tina Smith, and co-sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Last November the House of Representatives passed the land exchange bill on an overwhelming, bipartisan 309-99 vote. That one was introduced by Congressman Rick Nolan.

The Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017, which he introduced in the House last summer and shepherded to passage. His bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by fellow Minnesota Democrat Reps. Collin Peterson and Tim Walz, and Republicans Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis, among others. 

In January 2017, the Superior National Forest issued a Record of Decision authorizing the administrative land exchange, determining it was in the best public interest. 

"We are very grateful to House and Senate members and leadership who have worked tirelessly to bring this land exchange to closure," said Jon Cherry, president and CEO. "We also acknowledge with gratitude the strong hand of support shown to this legislation by business and labor groups, community leaders, and local supporters." 

The land exchange is set to close June 28th. 

The legislation, if signed, would put an end to the four lawsuits filed by environmental groups over the exchange.

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