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Corps extends public comment period for PolyMet’s Northmet Mine permit

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published June 16, 2022
Updated: June 16, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is providing an additional 15 days for the public to comment on the Clean Water Act Section 401(a)(2) action related to the PolyMet/NorthMet mining project. Public comments may be submitted until June 30.

PolyMet Mining, Inc., submitted a permit application to the Corps on July 16, 2004, requesting authorization to discharge dredged and fill material into waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act in association with the development of a copper-nickel-platinum group element mine and associated facilities. The Corps issued a standard individual permit to PolyMet Mining, Inc. on March 21, 2019.

The Corps suspended the permit on March 17, 2021, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reconsidered effects from the project under Section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act to water quality downstream in the state of Wisconsin and in Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s reservation. To date, no work has occurred in waters on site as authorized under the Section 404 Clean Water Act permit.

The Corps conducted a three-day public hearing in May in response to an objection from the Fond du Lac Band under Section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act to the Corps’ Section 404 permit for the project and the band’s request for a public hearing.      

All information submitted by the band, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and PolyMet, as well as the official court transcripts for all three days of the hearing, have been posted to the Corps’ project website https://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PolyMet/.

More information, including how to submit written comments, can be found in the public notice here https://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/.  

The purpose of Corps of Engineers' regulatory program is to protect the nation's aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions. The Corps evaluates permit applications for regulated activities that occur in the nation's waters, including wetlands.

 

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Release no. 22-066