News Archives

EPA Concerned over Minnesota's Lack of Pollution Oversight

July 2016

"In two recent letters, top officials at the EPA’s regional office in Chicago appear to concur with the allegations raised one year ago in a petition by the group WaterLegacy, that Minnesota lawmakers are restricting the ability of MPCA officials to do their jobs when it comes to regulating the state’s mining industry.

The EPA is in the midst of an investigation into allegations by WaterLegacy attorney Paula Maccabee, charging that the MPCA has, for years, failed to enforce water pollution standards on the state’s taconite mining industry. Among the allegations raised by Maccabee is that the state Legislature has, in some cases, stripped the MPCA of its authority to regulate certain discharges from taconite plants."

Read the full article from the Timberjay giving an update on the EPA's investigation into Minnesota's failure to control mining pollution. 

Join us for Cafe con Alondro: Pipelines, Mining and the Era of Extreme Extraction on June 29th

June 2016

Join us on June 29th at Little Earth in Minneapolis (Cedar Park Field, 2500 Cedar Ave) for light refreshments and an intimate conversation about how to connect and strengthen ongoing struggles to protect the Great Lakes from oil pipelines and sulfide mines. We'll hear from 3 visionary women leaders: Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, WaterLegacy's own Paula Maccabee, and Alondra Cano of the Minneapolis City Council. Extreme extraction requires extreme organizing!

Refreshments will be served from 5:00pm - 5:30pm and the program will begin shortly after. For more details and to RSVP, check out the event's Facebook page. 


Mining Pollution Loophole Bill Approved

May 2016

This whole situation is an invitation that anytime an industry doesn’t like a rule, they shouldn’t comply and ask the Legislature to study a change and drag the process out for years. That’s very contrary to the law.” - Paula Maccabee, WaterLegacy

In the midst of a federal investigation of Minnesota for failing to regulate mining pollution, the state Legislature has approved a bill that would prohibit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency from enforcing sulfate standards included in a mining permit issued to US Steel in 2011.

Read more of WaterLegacy Advocacy Director, Paula Maccabee's, response in the Timberjay. 


Nurse's View: PolyMet Sulfide Mine Threatens Downstream Health

May 2016

Aggie Cook, Volunteer President of the Minnesota Public Health Association, stressed the need for a health impacts assessment of the proposed PolyMet sulfide mine project in the Duluth News Tribune.

"The Minnesota Public Health Association and other leading medical and health organizations in Minnesota — including the Minnesota Nurses’ Association, the Minnesota Medical Association and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians — have called for a detailed assessment of the dangers posed by the PolyMet project to human health before the state issues permits for the project. This assessment has not yet been done."

MPCA Puts Permitting Process for Taconite Mines 'On Pause'

May 2016

In a move that WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Counsel, Paula Maccabee, called "both outrageous and a clear violation of the Clean Water Act", the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has stopped doing ANY work to update long-expired mining permits that don’t require mines to comply with Minnesota water quality standards.

Minnesota’s failure to control mining water pollution is why WaterLegacy filed a petition under the Clean Water Act to remove the MPCA’s authority and why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched an investigation of Minnesota’s failure to control water pollution. Is MPCA kicking a hornet’s nest?

WaterLegacy Receives 2016 Freshwater Hero Award

April 2016
On April 17, 2016,  WaterLegacy received the 2016 Freshwater Hero Award from Freshwater Future. The award was given in acknowledgement of "outstanding contributions and exceptional efforts to ensure the healthy future of our waters in the Great Lakes region".
Since 1996, Freshwater Future has helped people throughout our region protect the Great Lakes. We thank them for their invaluable support and gratefully accept this Freshwater Hero honor!

PolyMet Permits Open House and Info Session Scheduled for April 19

April 2016

Do you want answers to important questions about PolyMet’s proposed sulfide mine? The Minnesota DNR is holding a public information session in Aurora on Tuesday, April 19, to discuss the potential permitting path for PolyMet, and we need you there. No public testimony will be taken at this meeting, but there will be an open house and all of the public agencies that are considering permits for PolyMet will be there. This is a perfect time for you to ask them the questions they haven't answered.


Help us show that Minnesotans are deeply concerned about the hundreds of years of pollution that PolyMet would create. If you can make it to the open house, please contact for more information and to coordinate plans for next Tuesday.


For more details and to RSVP, visit the session's event page. 

May 1 - WaterLegacy Presents: Protect Lake Superior Waters and Communities from PolyMet

April 2016


Join us in Duluth on Sunday, May 1st at 6:30pm for a special presentation by WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Counsel, Paula Maccabee: Protect Lake Superior Waters and Communities from PolyMet Sulfide Mine Pollution.

Paula will explain PolyMet’s threats to environmental justice, human health and a sustainable climate and the work being done right now by WaterLegacy in collaboration with tribes to prevent sulfide mining pollution and destruction in the Lake Superior Basin.

Click here for more information and to RSVP.

EPA Responds to WaterLegacy Petition, Investigating Minnesota's Failure to Control Mining Pollution

March 2016

"This is the first time ever for this kind of an investigation in Minnesota,” - Paula Maccabee, WaterLegacy

Responding to a Summer 2015 petition from WaterLegacy, The federal Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to investigate the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's failure to enforce the Clean Water Act and control mining pollution. The EPA has authority under federal regulations to remove a state’s authority to regulate water pollution if state actions fail to comply with and enforce the law.

Read more about the EPA’s plans to investigate Minnesota’s regulation of mining pollution in the Timberjay and Duluth News Tribune.

Real Analysis of PolyMet Sulfide Mine Project Starts March 4, 2016

March 2016

Just as predicted, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found its own PolyMet final EIS “adequate.”

In a press conference after the announcement, Governor Mark Dayton explained that detailed scrutiny of PolyMet’s environmental impacts and the question of whether Minnesotans can be protected from financial risks of pollution liability would begin NOW as part of the state’s permitting decisions. The Governor underscored that his commissioners report to him and that he did not intend to evade responsibility for decisions on the PolyMet project.