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DNR to Prepare Independent EIS for Twin Metals

The DNR announced Friday more plans for the environmental review process for Twin Metals. The DNR announced Friday more plans for the environmental review process for Twin Metals. |  Photo: WDIO FILE

Updated: November 22, 2019 04:43 PM

On Friday, the Minnesota DNR said they are going to prepare a state-only Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Twin Metals project. Federal agencies will prepare a separate one.

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Twin Metals is expected to submit a proposal for their new, underground copper and nickel mine in December.

The proposal will require the preparation of an EIS under both the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act and the National Environmental Police Act.

According to the DNR, they will work cooperatively with the federal agencies, "to the fullest extent possible."

The reason for this separation, according to DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen, is because the federal agencies also have to deal with a mineral lease issue that does not involve the DNR. "It reduces the complexity for us, not to tie into that and have to be part of a joint process," she said on a conference all with media.

Twin Metals sent a statement on Friday. It reads, "Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) shares the State of Minnesota’s commitment to an open, transparent and public environmental review process. As we at Twin Metals continue to advance our plans to submit a Mine Plan of Operations soon to state and federal agencies, we look forward to the opportunity to be able to enter the regulatory process. The decision announced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to complete a state-only Environmental Impact Statement doesn’t change that, and we are continuing our work to submit our Project for review. 

The agencies that oversee the environmental review of our Project have robust processes in place to ensure we are held to the highest of standards. We look forward to fully engaging with agencies and the public in the coming years, and we ultimately believe that engagement will lead to the best Project for Minnesota. We must meet or exceed all environmental standards, or our Project will not proceed." 

Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters National Chair Becky Rom issued the following comment on the DNR statement saying it will move ahead with a state-only environmental impact statement (EIS) on a Twin Metals mine plan.

"It's good that Governor Walz recognizes that the Trump Administration can't be trusted to faithfully and with integrity do environmental review of a sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters. However, state standards are insufficient to protect the Wilderness from the inevitable industrial pollution that will flow from a copper mine next to this priceless natural resource. The state process acknowledges that projects will have a significant impact on landscapes and ecosystems, and it allows for air and water pollution in significant amounts."
 

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