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More studies planned for PolyMet project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, will prepare an amendment to the environmental impact statement for PolyMet Mining's proposed NorthMet mining project near Hoyt Lakes.

The "supplemental draft EIS" is needed in order to include analysis of the potential impacts of a land exchange between PolyMet and the U.S. Forest Service, to evaluate new information and new alternatives related to the NorthMet project, and to make the results of new analyses available for public review.

The agencies determined the path is more efficient than having the U.S. Forest Service develop a separate EIS for the land exchange.

The agencies have met several times to discuss issues related to the supplemental draft EIS, and to identify the best way forward in completing the EIS.

The supplemental draft EIS will:

- Fully incorporate the proposed land exchange between PolyMet and the U.S. Forest Service, Superior National Forest.

- Develop and incorporate additional project modifications, alternatives and mitigation measures to minimize environmental impacts.

- Provide clear descriptions of alternatives and mitigation.

- Consider federal and other public comments and recommendations.

The supplemental draft EIS will be a fully revised document. It will build on the draft EIS and combine and simplify the two separate project and land exchange statements.

The draft will provide appropriate public disclosure, include at least one public information meeting, ensure compliance with federal and state environmental review laws and regulations, and provide an effective and efficient process, the DNR reported.

The agencies have made progress in reviewing the more than 3,700 comments received during the public review period for the draft EIS that ended in February. The agencies continue to evaluate new ideas for project alternatives and mitigation, and are planning additional studies and analysis.