polymet

PolyMet Review Not Like Poker

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By JT Haines – December 6, 2015

I clicked the link in the above tweet this morning and took a look at Mining Minnesota’s stock comment to Governor Dayton with industry’s reasons why the Final EIS is “beyond adequate.” (Full text of the comment is below.) My purpose here is to simply offer a quick response to the first two of these “reasons,” which have been persisting in the discussion for years despite a lack of any real value.

MM’s Reason #1: “The Co-lead Agencies have spent 10 years evaluating potential project effects and alternatives.”

Yes, it has taken a long time. Simply put – having spent 10 years on something isn’t a reason to keep doing it. Really, the fact that the project has required 10 years to evaluate is no more a reason to move forward with it than it is a reason not to move forward with it. This isn’t poker, we’re not pot committed.

MM’s Reason #2:  “The Final EIS responds in detail to thousands of public comments and questions submitted during the review periods for the Draft EIS and the Supplemental Draft EIS.”

This is, again, simply a reiteration of the stage of the process we’re in — not a substantive point for or against anything. Comments have been submitted (a record number against, actually), and comments have been responded to –that’s the point of the process. So, again,”Lots of time has already been spent on this” is not a reason to DO anything. (By the way, remind me never to take investment advice from Mining Minnesota: “JT, you’ve lost so much money on this stock, obviously you must invest more.”)

Repeat them ad nauseum if you will, but these “the process is lengthy” arguments remain logically empty — they don’t actually mean anything other than this thing has already cost us all a lot of time and money.

At some point, if it still looks like a turkey…

Finally, @GoPolyMet’s tweet mentions bringing “hundreds of #jobs to the area,” so I’ll conclude with this: Spending millions of dollars adding 350 jobs — jobs beholden to a gigantic, foreign, anti-union mining conglomerate (Glencore XStrata) and a volatile international metals market — while in the midst of our own extremely challenging time where we’re losing far more than 350 existing mining jobs, would not on its face appear to be a sensible jobs program, if that’s what this is supposed to be. We can do better.

For the full text of the Final EIS and fact sheets, or to comment, visit DNR.
For Mining Minnesota’s full suggested comment to the Governor, click here. The text is also below.
For Mining Truth’s full suggested comment to the Governor (and response to the remainder of Mining Minnesota’s comment), click here.

 

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TELL THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES YOU SUPPORT THE FINAL EIS FOR POLYMET

Final EIS for PolyMet’s NorthMet Mine is beyond adequate
The Final EIS for PolyMet’s proposed mine concludes a thorough and independent review of the project’s potential environmental effects. After 10 years of study, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service have looked at the evidence and correctly found that the NorthMet Mine can comply with strict state and federal environmental standards.
The Final EIS for the NorthMet Mine is far beyond “adequate.” It takes a careful and comprehensive look at the project from every angle.
– The Co-lead Agencies have spent 10 years evaluating potential project effects and alternatives.
– The Final EIS responds in detail to thousands of public comments and questions submitted during the review periods for the Draft EIS and the Supplemental Draft EIS.
– The project’s water modeling—which was fully updated for the Final EIS—shows that PolyMet’s treatment and mitigation plans will prevent acid mine drainage and meet all water quality standards.
– After careful review, the Final EIS concludes that groundwater flows from the NorthMet project will not directly, indirectly, or cumulatively affect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or Voyageurs National Park, and that any possible groundwater flow would be prevented.
– The Final EIS also specifically considered the project’s potential effects on air quality and water quality with respect to human health, and identified no adverse health risks.
– In short, the Final EIS meets all of the requirements of the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
The time has come to move forward. The DNR should affirm the adequacy of the Final EIS so it can serve as the foundation for the state of Minnesota’s permitting process.

 

 

 

 

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The Growing Defense of the State Auditor is Great, but Where Does it Leave Us?

By JT Haines — June 4, 2015

So, we rush to the fairly obvious defense of our State Auditor, get some ridiculous provisions removed from law (STrib summary of the underlying issue here), and some of us even score a few mostly-cost-free political points for doing so. Yay! I’m all for getting that nasty business handled. But I’ll admit some concern. When we’ve succeeded in reversing the ridiculousness (which on this matter I believe we will), where does that leave us? Have we gone far enough? Are we ahead of where we were, or in reality behind? Have the *causes* of the need for such a rally been addressed? (And in the interests of slightly more clarity, I don’t just mean Republicans here.) Furthermore, are there equally important matters being compromised away because maybe they aren’t quite as easy and obvious to support? (MPCA Citizens Board comes to mind – what is its natural constituency? — Good MinnPost read on that situation here). I honestly don’t know, as I’m not close enough to this situation right now, and this is admittedly a fairly knee jerk reaction. But this all does feel a little weird to me, like maybe we’re getting played — from a pretty straight forward playbook — by those who seek to compromise our democracy every day. I hope I’m wrong, but in any case I mostly just hope it doesn’t end there.

In the meantime, of course, do please continue to support both the public functions of the Auditor’s office as well as Rebecca Otto for the bold stances she’s taken in favor of public accountability and her pro-taxpayer stance in the face of the highly costly PolyMet proposal, which Arne Carlson and others have convincingly argued is what’s really behind this nonsense. Make sure to check that out.

PolyMet E-mail Notwithstanding, NorthMet Fight Far from Over

Screenshot MNDNR Twitter Page

Screenshot MNDNR Twitter Page

By JT Haines – March 20, 2015

PolyMet Mining sent an e-mail to subscribers this week offering their preferred version of possible DNR release dates for the “NorthMet” project Final EIS — the highly controversial copper/sulfide mining proposal currently under state and federal regulatory review in Minnesota. The email reminded me that readers might appreciate a quick refresher on where we are in the process.

First, according to the email:

“PolyMet Mining is gearing up for a busy and productive few months ahead as state and federal regulators complete the environmental review process and prepare for permitting…The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been working through the 58,000 comments it received on the draft Environmental Impact Statement since the public comment period closed one year ago this month. That exhaustive work is nearly complete, and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said it is his goal to have the document “out the door” this spring. Permitting would then follow.

As we near the finish line, we will have much to share with you. And we may even need your help. If you haven’t done so yet, please update your information with us so we can keep you informed and ask for your help when it matters most.”

I’m not entirely sure what PolyMet means when they say “exhaustive work is nearly complete”, because the email doesn’t provide a source for that claim, and a claim that work is nearly complete is different than a “goal” expressed by DNR Commissioner Landwehr five months ago. Perhaps they mean they’ve understood from more recent non-public communications with the DNR that the EIS review is nearly complete, in which case that would be good for the public to know.

In any case, here’s a quick refresher on what we do know on EIS timing: Last September 24, 2014, the Ely Timberjay concluded based on an interview with DNR Commissioner Landwehr that it was “highly unlikely a final SDEIS will be issued before the second half of 2015, and possibly much later than that,” adding that company-promoted timelines had “once again, proven optimistic.” Two weeks later on October 6 — perhaps after a testy phone call or two? — Commissioner Landwehr expressed a “goal” to the Mesabi Daily News of releasing the final EIS in “early spring” 2015 (the goal presumably referenced by PolyMet’s email). The Commissioner qualified, however, that such a goal depends on a number of requirements, including that there be “no hitches” in the process.

As far as I know, we’ve not yet heard a DNR update on the EIS timeline in 2015, and it’s the DNR’s timeline that matters. Also as far as I know, no preliminary versions of the final EIS have yet been released, so at this point a final EIS from DNR in “early spring” seems unlikely.

In terms of next steps, after the final EIS is issued there is a separate public comment period, and after that, a permit application process — the results of which, as Commissioner Landwehr noted, are not guaranteed.

In other words, whatever the exact timeline, the fight is far from over. Which is exactly why in the meantime PolyMet is spending money promoting a (false) “narrative of inevitability”, an important thing to keep in mind going forward, and something the savvy readers of Newspeak Review are having no trouble with I’m sure.

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UPDATE: On June 9, 2015, the Duluth News Tribune confirmed that the PolyMet EIS is still months away, suggesting that it is “now expected by the end of 2015.” Ely Timberjay and Newspeak Review 1, MDN 0?

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Tourney15 in the Books; BenchPolyMet 2016?

Last night of outdoor puck on the Range, 2015.  Photo credit JT Haines

Franklin Rink in Eveleth. Last night of outdoor puck, 2015. Photo credit JT Haines

By JT Haines — March 8, 2015

Another Minnesota State Boys’ HS Hockey tournament is in the books, and as usual, it was a doozy. Congrats to repeat Class A Champs East Grand Forks, and to first-time Class AA Champs and undefeated Lakeville North. What an amazing run! As always, I really enjoyed watching, and as it turns out, doing so from garages and hotel rooms in between Iron Range pond hockey photo shoots ain’t a half bad way to take in the world’s greatest sporting event.*

PolyMet VP of Corporate Communications Bruce Richardson being "interviewed" by Tom Hauser between periods.

PolyMet VP of Corporate Communications Bruce Richardson being “interviewed” by Tom Hauser between periods.

A quick thanks to all who followed Newspeak Review and the #BenchPolyMet hashtag during this year’s tournament. PolyMet’s ads were just as gross and prevalent as ever — with an extra bonus this year of an “interview” by Tom Hauser of PolyMet VP Bruce Richardson in between periods of Friday’s Edina vs Duluth East thriller. Money talks, eh?

Some pretty cynical stuff, if you ask me, but the counter-narrative is alive. I appreciate all those who found their own way to say “NO” to PolyMet’s exploitative deluge during this year’s otherwise fantastic tournament. Let’s hope suffering through something similar next year becomes unnecessary for all the right reasons.

Last word goes out to John Doberstein of Duluth, with perhaps my favorite social media share of the weekend:

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Indeed.

* For those with any doubt about the greatness of this tournament, check out this year’s “All Hockey Hair team”:

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“Mining the Energy of the MN Boys’ State Hockey Tourney”: A Message from PolyMet

By JT Haines — March 4, 2015

As readers of this site know, I have taken issue with PolyMet’s advertising at the Minnesota State HS Hockey tournaments, and have been promoting the hashtag #BenchPolyMet for use on social media during the tournaments for further public discourse on the matter. Traffic on Newspeak Review has reached record levels each day I have posted about this. (For earlier posts, including a sharable #BenchPolyMet image, click here and here.)

Well, we need not speculate any further about PolyMet’s own thoughts about their ad campaign at the state tournament. Minutes ago, PolyMet delivered this message concerning its involvement — with the fairly remarkable title “Mining the Energy of the MN Boys’ State Hockey Tourney” — reprinted here in full (emphasis mine):

From: PolyMet Mining [mailto:info@polymetmining.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2015 11:42 AM
To: [Redacted]
Subject: Mining the Energy of MN Boys’ State Hockey Tourney

polymet

It’s tournament time!

Like many of you, we’re eager for Minnesota Boys’ State High School Hockey Tournament action this week.

We’re proud to be a major supporter of the Minnesota State High School League State Tournaments, allowing statewide live broadcasts and online streaming of tournament games. Follow those live streams here.

We’re also looking forward to the Environmental Impact Statement for the PolyMet Project being completed, with permitting to follow this year. We’d enjoy your support, too.

Follow us on social media. @GoPolyMet #PolyMet

At the games? Visit us at the PolyMet Mining booth on the concourse. We’ll have more information on the project and other materials on hand, and some giveaways too—all while we celebrate this season of hard work, long hours and possibly a few good puck bounces.

There you have it. PolyMet would like to mine your energy, would enjoy your support, and would like you to associate PolyMet and the upcoming EIS completion with our fair state hockey tournament. Public lobbying concerning their controversial mine proposal will be taking place right there in the concourse at the games for your convenience, to complement the friendly voice you will hear from time to time in the arena and on TV with messages about how much PolyMet cares about you and your community.

Responses to this propaganda campaign — particularly in light of the key moment we’re in for regulatory review — are certainly in order, whether directed to the league, the company, or elected officials, and I hope some take a little time to make sure their positions about this are heard. In the meantime, enjoy some great hockey this weekend folks, and remember to use the hashtag #BenchPolyMet.

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