Company says court finds permit for PolyMet issued with proper procedures

A judged ruled in favor of PolyMet and the MPCA in regards to one of their permits. A judged ruled in favor of PolyMet and the MPCA in regards to one of their permits. |  Photo: WDIO FILE

Updated: September 04, 2020 10:27 AM

PolyMet leaders said they are pleased with a ruling that came out Thursday about their permitting.

According to the company's press release, a Ramsey County District Court judge found that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency did not engage in any procedural irregularities in connection with the processing of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the NorthMet project.

In his decision, Judge John H. Guthmann rejected the allegations that MPCA engaged in a systematic effort to keep evidence out of the administrative record.

Those allegations had been made by the relators Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, WaterLegacy, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

“We are pleased with the district court’s ruling and look forward to defending the challenge to the water permit currently pending in the court of appeals,” said Jon Cherry, chairman, president and CEO. “We remain confident the water quality permit meets all applicable standards and will ultimately be upheld by the courts.”

The MPCA sent a statement, saying,"With today’s decision, the court renewed its confidence in the MPCA’s permitting process for PolyMet. While the MPCA always strives to do better, the court overwhelmingly said the agency’s permitting procedures were not irregular. The MPCA remains committed to ensuring that its permit processes and decision-making are transparent and provide a robust opportunity for public participation."

An attorney for WaterLegacy, Paula Maccabee, pointed out that the judge found there were a couple of irregularities, regarding preserving exhibits and destroying some exhibits.

On page 82 of the order, Guthmann wrote, "The act of destroying exhibits 58 and 333 was an irregularity in procedure not shown in the record."

Maccabee added that they believe the judge's findings of procedural irregularities were too narrow, and that they will appeal.

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