Questions persist over a March 2018 report outlining potential expansion plans.
On one hand, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court’s decision that would have sent PolyMet’s air permits back to state regulators for further review.
But on the other, it instructed a lower court to review whether PolyMet, which is trying to open the state’s first copper-nickel mine, deceived the regulators by withholding a report outlining the potential for a much larger mine.
Both opponents and supporters of PolyMet claimed victory in Wednesday’s Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Margaret Chutich.
Central to the case is whether a report released by PolyMet in March 2018 — 10 days after the air permit’s public comment period ended — outlines the company’s plans to recover 118,000 tons of ore per day instead of 32,000 tons per day — the amount listed by the company in permit applications.
The air permits, issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in December 2018, allow the company to release 250 tons of regulated pollutants per year, but opponents say the company would exceed that limit if it were to recover more ore and called the permits an example of “sham permitting.”