PolyMet NorthMet SDEIS CoverSign the prepared comment letter HERE.

On December 6, 2013, PolyMet's Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) was released for public scrutiny and comments by State and Federal agencies.

The proposed sulfide mine and tailings dump would pollute streams, wetlands, and drinking water for hundreds if not thousands of years. The U.S EPA gave the previous attempt a failing grade. You can read PolyMet's Revised Mine Proposal (SDEIS) here, including the hundreds of Reference documents not published with the document itself. You can also visit the official information site.

Have a say in this important matter that affects all Minnesotans. Your voice in government decisions about the PolyMet NorthMet open pit mine and its potential impacts to you, your family, and your community starts here, with the environmental review.

You can start with our basic letter that explains why the PolyMet plan (SDEIS) is inadequate and the PolyMet mine environmentally harmful.

You can edit this letter to add your own concerns, or use the form to type or paste your own individual comments in the box, and send them to the agencies deciding on the PolyMet sulfide mine plan, Land Exchange and wetlands destruction permit.
All comments must be submitted by 4:30 PM on March 13, 2014.


1) Comments must include your full name and legal mailing address.

2) State clearly what you are concerned about in the PolyMet SDEIS or the PolyMet project. If some of your comments relate to destruction of wetlands, say that your comments apply to the “Section 404 Permit” as well as to the SDEIS.

3) Summarize any background or experience that supports your comments, and explain how the PolyMet sulfide mine could impact you, your family or your community.

4) Include what actions you would like the Lead Agencies to take, and be as specific as possible.

5) You can ask for actions on the SDEIS or final actions by the lead agencies:
• Reject the SDEIS as inadequate and the PolyMet project as environmentally harmful.
• Deny the wetlands destruction permit (Section 404 Permit).
• Reject the exchange of Superior National Forest Land that would allow the PolyMet project to move forward.
• Deny PolyMet a state permit to mine.
6) You can explain why the SDEIS is inadequate and what should be done to better identify and analyze potential impacts of the proposal:
• You can ask that issues that haven't been analyzed at all (like impacts on workers’ health) be studied before the EIS is finalized.
• You can ask that a better job be done studying key issues (like mercury contamination of fish or costs of perpetual pollution).
• You can ask that unsubstantiated assumptions (like the percent of seepage collection at the tailings basin) be rejected.
7) You can ask that the SDEIS analyze potential impacts of alternatives that would reduce harm. This is supposed to be the heart of the environmental review process:
• You can ask that alternatives that the SDEIS decided not to analyze (like underground mining) be studied.
• You can come up with your own common sense alternatives (like putting liners under the permanent waste rock pile and the tailings piles) that should be analyzed before the EIS can be finalized.

8) Focus your comments on a specific issue or a few related issues.  

9) Sulfide mining can be an emotional issue, but it is important that you use factual and respectful language in your comments.


Tuslequah Chief Mine
Acid mine drainage from the Tuslequah Chief
Copper-Lead Mine in British Columbia.
Photo by Chris Miller

  • The PolyMet Land Exchange could affect 6,650 acres of Superior National Forest land, resulting in a net loss to federal public lands of 6026 acres of areas of high biodiversity, 2,030 acres mature forest (replaced with 2,000 acres immature forest) and 1401 acres of floodplains.

  • The PolyMet sulfide mine project would directly destroy 913 acres of wetlands and could indirectly destroy as many as 7,351 acres of wetlands in the Partridge and Embarrass River watersheds due to pollution and changes in hydrology.

  • High value peatlands on the mine site are irreplaceable. The vast majority of wetlands mitigation is outside the Lake Superior Basin and there is no plan to replace most of the “indirectly” affected wetlands.

  • PolyMet’s predictions of water pollution rely on unsubstantiated assumptions that no pollution will seep from the 526-acre permanent mine site waste rock pile into the 100 Mile Swamp, and that pumps on the edge of the 2-mile-wide tailings pile will capture 99.37 percent of the seepage.

  • Even with PolyMet’s rosy modeling predictions, where pollution from the mine pits, mine wastes and tailings piles seeps up from surface groundwater flow to wetlands, it is virtually certain that PolyMet’s discharge would violate water quality standards.

  • Cumulative impacts of the PolyMet project and other existing and expanding mines would impair wild rice, fish and aquatic ecosystems and violate the treaty rights of Indian tribes to hunt, fish and gather in Superior National Forest lands ceded to the United States.

  • PolyMet’s water and air pollution from mine pits, waste rock and tailings piles and PolyMet’s excavation and changing hydrology in wetlands would increase mercury loading to wetlands and streams and increase mercury bioaccumulation in fish, putting human health at risk.

  • PolyMet’s discharge would increase carcinogenic arsenic in Hoyt Lakes drinking water and release arsenic, lead and manganese – chemicals that impair brain function – into groundwater.

  • PolyMet’s water pollution from the permanent mines site waste rock pile would need treatment for at least 200 years and pollution from the tailings piles would require treatment for at least 500 years. Pollution seeping out of the mine pits would “continue in perpetuity.” Forever.

  • The PolyMet SDEIS compares no alternatives other than two sizes of land exchange. It does not compare an underground mining alternative or avoiding a permanent waste rock pile by putting waste rock back into the west pie. It doesn’t analyze alternatives like a liner under the permanent waste rock pile, a liner under the tailings piles, or ways to reduce water drained away from Partridge River watershed wetlands and streams.

Send Your Comments on PolyMet's Mine Plan Today

All comments must be submitted by 4:30 PM on March 13, 2014.
Please remember to include your full name and a mailing address.

Your written comments may also be submitted by mail:
Lisa Fay, EIS Project Manager
MDNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 25
St. Paul, MN 55155-4025

If you would like more detailed talking points prepared by WaterLegacy's Advocacy Director, please contact Allen Richardson at Allen [at] WaterLegacy.org, and let him know what subject you would be interested in learning about.

Read sections of the actual SDEIS here to find out more about areas of concern to you.

Relevant WaterLegacy Fact Sheets to help you draft comments are available by clicking here.

Share this

SIGN UP to get Action Alerts and Updates

(We do not share your information.)


Donate to WaterLegacy