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County Board votes to support Environmental Impact Study on Polymet mine

Cook County Board of Commissioners
Cook County Board of Commissioners

Cook County Commissioners are sending a support letter to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The letter is a part of the public comment period for an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) on the PolyMet proposed non-iron mining project near Hoyt Lakes.

Commissioners could have urged the DNR to “continue moving forward in order that the PolyMet project becomes a reality,” as their letter was originally worded, but instead the board went on record supporting the EIS as “the proper tool for mitigation on the project.”

Commissioners acknowledged the economic and social values of a revived mining industry in the Northeast, but were cautious about endorsing a project they believe has limited impact on the county and may result in decisions they couldn’t agree with.

Commissioner Bob Fenwick said he felt the EIS was the best way to ensure adequate environmental standards would be in place before PolyMet begins mining for copper, platinum and other non-ferrous metals. Commissioner Jim Johnson said that if the county supports the economic benefits of this kind of mining, they must also support a detailed study of the environmental consequences.