PolyMet Wetlands Permit Statement

Yet again, PolyMet NorthMet project opponents continue to twist information to misinform the public and their supporters.

The latest jab involves the US Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to suspend PolyMet’s wetlands permit during the EPA’s 90-day review. This is part of an EPA process currently underway to review downstream water quality under the Clean Water Act. PolyMet has been cooperating fully in this review process.

There have been six state and federal cases over the past several months regarding various NorthMet permit decisions. To date, PolyMet has received favorable decisions in all six cases that have reached a final conclusion – four federal and two state.

Better in Our Back Yard is confident the outcome of this process will be no different.

IN THE LONG TERM, SCIENCE WILL PREVAIL

Yesterday, the EPA filed a voluntary motion to remand its downstream water quality decision. The action pertains to section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act. Under the law, when the Corps of Engineers plans to issue a section 404 wetlands permit, EPA has to consider whether discharges under the Corps’ permit “may affect” water quality in a downstream state or tribal reservation.

The action allows EPA to conduct a 90-day review of the evidence so it can issue an explicit finding under section 401(a)(2) to the Army Corps of Engineers.

When the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued its certification in 2018, the science showed that PolyMet’s NorthMet project has no downstream water quality effects, and the EPA has never said otherwise. The science was on the side of the project then, and the company says it is confident the science will again prevail in the review.

Better In Our Back Yard proudly supports PolyMet as they plan to fully participate in the process, and we’re confident that the science will once again show that PolyMet can responsibly mine the minerals needed for a green energy economy while protecting the region’s pristine environment.

Letter to the PUC, in support of LINE 3

Better in Our Back Yard Letter to the PUC:

This comment is in support of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 Replacement Project. The most recent request for a stay is unnecessary and counterproductive. Line 3 is already the most studied pipeline project in Minnesota’s history as the process nears six years of review. Wisconsin, North Dakota and Canada have already completed their portions of construction and there isn’t any logical reason as to why construction on the Minnesota segment of Line 3 hasn’t begun. Enbridge has met all Minnesota Public Utility Commission requirements proving the projects need beyond a doubt, as well as the requirements of every state and federal environmental permitting agency involved. In granting the multitude of environmental and construction permits, state and federal agencies have continued to reassert their confidence that the project will meet or exceed all environmental and safety standards

 As we navigate through the global pandemic, northern Minnesota communities and small businesses continue to struggle. Now more than ever, the region needs a significant boost to the economy and the replacement of Line 3 gives local communities the economic injection needed to avoid further economic hardship. Over 40 mayors in Northern Minnesota have stated their support for the replacement of Line 3 because they understand what the project means for the communities that they represent, and the commitments Enbridge continues to make towards safe construction.

 From an economic, safety and infrastructure integrity perspective, the replacement of Line 3 is a no brainer for Minnesota. It’s time to put our skilled professionals in the Union Building Trades to work and replace an old deteriorating line with state of the art technology that will provide the safest way to transport crude oil.

Stormwater Permit Approved for Line 3

Today is a great day for the future of northern Minnesota communities. Enbridge has been granted the construction stormwater permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the final permit needed for construction to begin for the replacement of Line 3.

Better In Our Back Yard congratulates Enbridge on six years of continuously proving that Line 3 will meet or exceed all environmental and safety standards while delivering billions of dollars in private investment, over 4,000 family sustaining jobs, millions in local spending, and a strong increase in local tax revenues when northern Minnesotans need it the most.

Job site safety is Enbridge’s top priority and the replacement of Line 3 will be no exception. As the nation navigates through the pandemic, Enbridge has made it clear that they will institute strict coronavirus testing and screening for workers. This will include daily temperature screenings, job site mask requirements, monitored social distancing, and regular sanitization of work areas.

Better In Our Back Yard is excited to see six years of hard work and perseverance from Enbridge and supporters across Minnesota come to fruition. Enbridge is poised to deliver a new pipeline with state-of-the-art technology that will provide the safest way to transport crude oil while reviving northern Minnesota’s economy and protecting the region’s environment that we all cherish and love.

PolyMet Mining Committed to Extensive Regulatory Process

Better In Our Back Yard (BIOBY) is pleased celebrate another win for PolyMet and Minnesota’s industrial sector. The Ramsey County District Court found no irregularities in procedure when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued a water quality permit for the NorthMet copper nickel-precious metals project.

PolyMet Mining, Inc. is committed to following the extensive regulatory process. BIOBY has every confidence that PolyMet and the MPCA followed the correct procedures to make decisions regarding the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Although opposition groups will continue to look for discrepancies in an effort to delay the process, BIOBY trusts the courts will continue to rule in favor of Minnesota’s regulatory agencies, and in favor of responsible industrial projects.

Walz Announcement A Disappointing Turn for Northern MN

In no other state would a Governor repeatedly challenge a privately-funded, $2.6B project that will infuse 4200 family sustaining jobs during a recession and in a region that is experiencing unemployment rates in excess of 20 percent. This is especially disappointing to Better In Our Back Yard supporters after the Walz Administration and Dayton Administration approved the project multiple times after the longest, most thorough environmental review in the State’s history. Our organization believes projects like replacing Line 3 can be done safely in Minnesota because of these very processes and regulations that Enbridge has navigated.

Tax-payer dollars will now be used on a court appeal process, with one agency suing another agency over a project to replace aging infrastructure. Governor Walz has turned his back again on northern Minnesota and the thousands of residents and local units of government who stand behind this project.

GOOD NEWS FOR THE TWIN METALS EIS PROCESS

Better in Our Back Yard is pleased with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s decision to file a notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Twin Metals’ proposed copper-nickel mine in northeast Minnesota. This is a significant step forward in the federal regulatory process.

The Better in Our Back Yard community of labor members and vendor partners looks forward to supporting Twin Metals through the EIS process. We know projects are done better, here in our own back yard.

WE SUPPORT LINE 3 – MPUC DENIES REQUEST TO RECONSIDER CERTIFICATE OF NEED AND ROUTE PERMIT

Better In Our Back Yard is pleased with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision to deny the request to reconsider the Certificate of Need and the route permit for the Enbridge #Line3 Project. We are grateful that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and its members are continuing to focus their efforts on advancing the progress of the most studied and reviewed oil pipeline in the state’s history.

Line 3 is an essential project that will secure Minnesota’s economic future bringing essential jobs back to our state when we need it most, especially when the majority of counties along Line 3’s route are facing unemployment rates in excess of 20 percent. Thank you again to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, it’s members and supporters of this much needed investment.

Positive Ruling Regarding Polymet’s NorthMet

Better in Our Back Yard is pleased to learn the Minnesota Supreme Court granted a review of a Minnesota Court of Appeals’ ruling regarding Polymet’s NorthMet Project air permit. It’s the second case the Supreme Court has granted review of the lower court’s ruling on PolyMet permits.

Better in Our Back Yard remains steadfast in our support of the NorthMet Project and the State agencies who conducted the comprehensive environmental and regulatory review. Support of responsible development – especially these types of large-scale projects – will be essential to the economic recovery of our region. We know we can do better, for our communities, region and economy, here – in our own back yard.

Devastating News: Verso Mill to Close in Duluth

The Better in Our Back Yard community is devastated with the news Verso will indefinitely idle the Duluth paper mill this month. Employing over 200 professionals, the mill has been a cornerstone of our regional economy since 1987, providing a market for our naturally renewable resources in the logging industry.

This news comes on the heels of additional idles and closures due to the pandemic. Now more than ever our region could use the economic boost of large-scale projects like PolyMet’s NorthMet project, and Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project. Managing our natural resources economy responsibly must be part of a solution to mitigate and move through these difficult times.