Minnesota regulators will review the state rules for copper-nickel mining within the same watershed as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness after a judge on Wednesday upheld an agreement allowing for the review and dismissed a challenge by Twin Metals, which is proposing such a mine in that watershed.
Judge Laura Nelson in State District Court in St. Paul remanded the issues to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources so it could “institute appropriate administrative proceedings to consider and make findings and issue an order regarding the alleged inadequacy” and that Twin Metals’ motion to dismiss “fails.”
The order allows a November agreement between the DNR and environmental group Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness to proceed. In that, the state agency agreed to review its 1993 non-ferrous, or non-iron, mining rules to determine if it can actually protect the BWCAW from copper-nickel mining pollution in the Rainy River Watershed.
The move came after Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness filed a lawsuit in June State District Court under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act arguing the state’s rules were outdated and should be updated to ban copper-nickel mining in the Rainy River Watershed of Minnesota, which would effectively kill the proposed Twin Metals project.