Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Nolan Applauds DNR for Issuing Key Permits to PolyMet Mining Project

Nov 2, 2018
Press Release

[WASHINGTON D.C.] U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan today applauded the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decision to issue several key permits to PolyMet’s proposed NorthMet mining project in northeast Minnesota. 

Nolan stated, “The favorable decisions announced today by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regarding PolyMet’s NorthMet permit applications mark another important step forward in the longest and most rigorous environmental review process in Minnesota history.

“For the last several years, my staff and I have been working behind the scenes bringing all of the federal and state agencies involved together to keep track of our progress and advance the process. I am so glad, we along with so many others, were able to help in bringing the project to this point.

While there are still more steps to go, this positive development gives us even more reason to be optimistic that PolyMet will bring hundreds of high-paying union jobs and millions of dollars in economic growth to the Iron Range. I will continue to work with the appropriate agencies to ensure that the proposed project moves forward in an efficient manner.

As I noted in my letter to the DNR and MPCA back in February, our nation requires these strategic Minnesota minerals to strengthen our national security and economy and also to propel the next generation of “green” technologies in our society.

For example, new hybrid cars contain more than one ton of iron, steel, copper, nickel, and nickel-based aluminum. Wind turbines contain enormous amounts of steel and copper – and reduce our air pollution and dependency on fossil fuels. And practically every one of the appliances and devices that power our modern way of life rely on iron ore and precious metals.

We have limited choices on how we get these strategic minerals. Though we can recycle a certain percentage, recycling will never be able to take the place of mining – not even by half. Therefore, we are left with two options. Either we can primarily import our strategic minerals from foreign countries with terrible environmental standards and worker protections. Or we can mine them right here at home, where we control the process, create good paying American jobs, and follow the toughest environmental rules and regulations in the world.

In my judgement, the latter choice makes the most ethical, moral, and economic common sense, so I again commend Governor Dayton, the DNR, and PolyMet for their cooperation and hard work moving this process forward.