Court upholds MN rules in copper-nickel mining challenge – by Dan Kraker (Minnesota Public Radio – August 5, 2019)

The Minnesota Court of Appeals Monday dealt a setback to several environmental groups challenging the state’s rules governing copper-nickel mining.

The groups argued in a lawsuit that the state’s rules over mine waste disposal, mining areas and permits to mine for “nonferrous metallic mineral mining” are too vague for courts and regulatory agencies to enforce, and don’t adequately protect the environment.

It was among several suits filed by conservation and environmental groups after the state approved PolyMet Mining’s controversial proposal to build Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine late last year.

But the appeals court panel ruled that the state’s mining rules governing nonferrous mining — which includes the mining of all metals but iron ore and taconite — are valid.

In its decision, the three-judge panel said the conservation groups’ complaint that the law does not impose specific limitations on copper-nickel mining is more appropriately directed to the state Legislature or its Department of Natural Resources. “We are pleased that the Court of Appeals ruled in our favor,” Jon Cherry, PolyMet Mining’s president, said in a statement.

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