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Rally Calls for St. Louis River to be Classified Endangered due to Polymet

September 22, 2015 06:21 PM

DULUTH, Minn. - Activists concerned about the possibility of Polymet's proposed copper-nickel mine contaminating the Lake Superior Watershed and the Boundary Waters gathered in front of the St. Louis County Courthouse Tuesday to urge the county board to declare the St. Louis River endangered.

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Aaron Klemz, communications director for Friends of the Boundary Waters, said even though Polymet is on the Iron Range, Duluthians should still be concerned about the St. Louis River.

"It's an incredible asset for the community; we've invested hundreds of millions of dollars into cleaning it up, and it would be a real shame to go backwards now when we have so much re-development happening on the western Duluth waterfront," Klemz said.

The group filtered into the St. Louis County Board meeting after the rally to speak. Andrew Slade, a program coordinator for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, said he was pleased with how many people showed up to speak at the board meeting Tuesday.

"The threat to the St. Louis River is real," Slade said. "We're very concerned about the impacts of the proposed Polymet mine, and we'd like to get the St. Louis County Board on record acknowledging that threat."

Polymet said in a statement that the company's operation "will have no adverse effect" on the river and that it will meet state and federal water quality standards before releasing any water from its property.

"Water will be treated using modern, proven reverse osmosis technology to sulfate standards that are 25 times cleaner than drinking water and a mercury standard that is about 10 times cleaner than rain water," the statement said.

The topic was not on the board's agenda to address Tuesday. 


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