Let your voice be heard and let the BWCA be safe.
USDA Forest Service
Superior National Forest
December 6, 2013
Contact: Kris Reichenbach 218-626-4393
Agencies Invite Public Review and Comment on NorthMet Project and Land Exchange
Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement
December 6, Duluth, MN - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) invite interested organizations and individuals to review and comment on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange (SDEIS). The SDEIS describes the anticipated environmental and socioeconomic impacts of a proposed open pit copper, nickel, cobalt and precious metals mine near the cities of Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt in northeastern Minnesota. A proposed land exchange between PolyMet, Inc. and the USFS is included in the analysis as a connected action. The SDEIS is posted on the MDNR’s website at: www.mndnr.gov/polymet
The federal public comment period for the SDEIS will begin after Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register on December 13, 2013 and end March 13, 2014 at 4:30 PM CT. Comments should address the accuracy and completeness of information presented in the SDEIS. Comments may be submitted by email, hard copy, or verbally at public meetings. To encourage thoughtful and thorough public review, the agencies are providing a lengthy review period. There will be three public meetings at different locations in Minnesota to provide information, answer questions, and gather verbal and written public comments on the SDEIS.
Each of the following public events will begin with an open house at 5 p.m. followed by formal presentation and public comment period from 6:45 to 10 p.m.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
DECC – Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802,
This meeting will also serve as the public hearing for the USACE 404 (Clean Water Act) Permit.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Mesabi East High School, 601 N 1st St W, Aurora, MN 55705, http://www.mesabieast.k12.mn.us/
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Saint Paul River Centre, 175 West Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55102, http://www.rivercentre.org/
In case of a weather-related postponement of one or more of the public meetings, the MDNR will make a public announcement. Alternate dates and locations are posted on the MDNR project website at: www.mndnr.gov/polymet
The next step in the environmental review will be a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS will support: 1.) mining-related decisions including the MDNR permit to mine, USACE wetlands permit, and MPCA water and air quality permits and 2.) a separate decision by the USFS regarding the proposed land exchange.
The environmental review is not permitting. No decisions regarding permits can or will be made until after completion of the final environmental review document. The USFS decision regarding the proposed land exchange will be based on whether the exchange serves the public interest and whether it supports the direction and guidance of the Forest Plan. The USFS manages national forests for multiple uses. The Forest Plan for the Superior National Forest provides direction to ensure that mineral resources are developed in an environmentally sound manner
An earlier Draft EIS for the proposed NorthMet project was released by the MDNR and USACE in September 2009. In 2010, the Superior National Forest was invited, and agreed, to join as a co-lead in the NorthMet EIS process with the proposed land exchange between Polymet and the Forest Service analyzed as a connected action. Subsequently, the co-lead agencies decided to produce a supplemental DEIS.
The public can review and comment on the SDEIS on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/polymet. The website also includes an executive summary, and a series of fact sheets and documents designed to help the public understand the proposed project.
The SDEIS is a detailed and lengthy document, approximately 2,200 pages in total. Due to the cost of printing, there is a limited supply of hardcopy versions of the SDEIS. The summary, DVD containing the full version of the SDEIS, or hardcopy SDEIS may be requested by calling the MDNR at 651-259-5110.
Public review copies of the SDEIS are available at: the MDNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul; the MDNR Regional Office at 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids; the MDNR-Division of Lands and Minerals Regional Office at 1525 Third Avenue East, Hibbing; the Hoyt Lakes Public Library at 206 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Hoyt Lakes; the Babbitt Public Library at 71 South Drive, Babbitt; the Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior Street, Duluth; and the Minneapolis Public Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.