PolyMet Land Exchange is a Bad Deal, Not in the Public Interest


DULUTH, MINNESOTA – Today, the U.S. Forest Service issued a final record of decision authorizing the transfer 6,650 acres of Superior National Forest land to PolyMet Mining. Over 22,000 public objections to the draft record of decision were filed, but no substantial changes were made in response to these objections. Paul Danicic, Executive Director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, issued the following statement in response:

“The transfer of thousands of acres of Superior National Forest land to PolyMet is a bad deal for taxpayers, premature, and not in the public interest. No exchange of land can undo the damage that PolyMet would do to this area. The land that PolyMet seeks to mine contains thousands of acres of high-value wetlands that are irreplaceable.

The standard for federal land exchanges is that the exchange must be in the public interest. PolyMet would create polluted water that would require expensive treatment for hundreds of years. PolyMet would be the largest permitted destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history. The risk to the St. Louis River, Lake Superior, and downstream communities from this mine proposal demonstrates why it is not in the public interest.

The land exchange is a bad deal for taxpayers and the public. The land PolyMet would receive has been valued at just $550 per acre, well below its actual value as land essential to a mining proposal. The federal government will even have to pay $425,000 in cash to PolyMet. If a land exchange is to occur, it should at least fairly value the land and protect taxpayers.

The land exchange is premature because PolyMet has not shown they can meet state and federal law. They have received no state or federal permit for their mine proposal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not even certified that PolyMet’s environmental review is complete. Until PolyMet proves they can meet state and federal law, there is no reason for the Forest Service to transfer thousands of acres of Superior National Forest land to PolyMet.”

MORE INFO: For more information or to set up an interview with a spokesperson from Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, please contact Aaron Klemz (aaron@friends-bwca.org, 763-788-0282)

 Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is celebrating 40 years of protecting, preserving and restoring the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem.

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