News Archives

Caucus for Clean Water on March 1, 2016

February 2016

WaterLegacy and other environmental and conservation groups have developed a Sulfide Mining Caucus Resolution to protect Voyageurs National Park, the Boundary Waters and the Lake Superior and Mississippi River Watersheds from pollution and destruction.

We encourage you to attend your party’s precinct caucus on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 and request passage of this Sulfide Mining Caucus Resolution. Please educate your neighbors at the caucus about the threat of sulfide mining and the need to adopt this resolution.

Get the Tools to Take Action Here.


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

January 2016

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.

“This is the first time ever for this kind of an investigation in Minnesota. This goes far beyond the routine oversight normally done by the EPA. The fact that the EPA has responded so promptly and so rigorously demonstrates that they are taking the state’s failure to regulate mining waste very seriously.” – Paula Maccabee, WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Legal Counsel

Read more about the story in the Timberjay and Duluth News Tribune.

Take Governor Dayton’s Minnesota Water Quality Survey

January 2016

Governor Mark Dayton is asking for your opinion about water quality in Minnesota ahead of the Governor’s Water Summit. The Governor’s online survey lists a number of important issues, but says nothing at all about sulfide mining or the effects of mercury contamination of fish on children’s health. You can fix this. Fill out the online survey and add your other comments:

“Prevent sulfide mining pollution in Minnesota. Reject the PolyMet sulfide mine as too risky for Minnesota’s iconic waters. Stop mercury contamination of fish, and protect the health of infants and children.”


What’s Next for the PolyMet NorthMet Project?

January 2016


With the public comment period for PolyMet’s Final EIS over, many are wondering “what’s next?” WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Legal Counsel, Paula Maccabee, talks what comes next and explains WaterLegacy’s conclusion that the PolyMet project could not receive federal permits in an interview with Zenith News.

“Paula Maccabee still holds out hope that the state and federal agencies whose permission is needed to open the door to copper–nickel mining in Minnesota will yet come to their senses—but just in case they don’t, she is prepared to sue.”


Read the full story, PolyMet’s Day in Court: Critics Prepare Legal Objections to Mining Permit.

WaterLegacy Opposes PolyMet NorthMet Sulfide Mine

January 2016

On December 14, 2015, WaterLegacy submitted comments opposing PolyMet’s application for a Section 404 wetlands destruction permit as a violation of the Clean Water Act and other federal laws. We also submitted comments detailing the inadequacies of the PolyMet Final Environmental Impact Statement under both federal and state law and submitted expert reports and exhibits supporting our arguments.

On January 4, 2016, WaterLegacy submitted another 130 pages of legal objections to the U.S. Forest Service objecting to the proposed exchange of Superior National Forest lands for the PolyMet sulfide mine project.


WaterLegacy Opposes MPCA Wild Rice Rule Proposal

December 2015


On December 18, 2015 WaterLegacy submitted detailed comments, expert opinions and exhibits opposing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) proposal to eliminate the 10 milligram per liter limit on sulfate pollution that protects Minnesota wild rice and replace it with a lake-by-lake equation that would underpredict sulfide and violate the Clean Water Act. WaterLegacy’s comments also opposed the MPCA’s plan to require a certain threshold of stems be counted in order to consider a lake or stream a wild rice water.


WaterLegacy's Paula Maccabee Interviewed in Minnesota Lawyer

October 2015

Paula Maccabee, Advocacy Director and Legal Counsel for WaterLegacy, spoke recently with Minnesota Lawyer about legal challenges in the age of PolyMet:

"This is the most complicated and difficult and risky effort with which I’ve ever been associated. There is an enormous amount at stake because the site is upstream of reservations, of fishing areas, of wild rice, of drinking water. It has a huge and terrifying potential to effect human health."

Read the whole interview here.

WaterLegacy Petitions U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Strip Minnesota Regulators and Politicians of Authority to Regulate Mining Water Pollution

July 2015

On July 2, 2015, WaterLegacy filed a petition under federal Clean Water Act regulations asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the Minnesota’s authority to regulate mining pollution due to undue influence of the mining industry on Minnesota regulators and politicians.

Explains Northern Minnesota commentator Marshall Helmberger in the Timberjay:

“What Water Legacy’s petition lays bare is a case of the industry setting its own rules, essentially regulating the actions of Minnesota state government, rather than the other way around. Minnesota’s reputation for strong environmental laws is a paper tiger.”

Read WaterLegacy's petition here.

Comment on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s proposed Environmental Justice Framework until JULY 15, 2015.

June 2015

Tell the MPCA that you appreciate their attention to environmental justice and protecting vulnerable populations, like children and the elderly, but that the MPCA has to set and enforce pollution limits, ensure that citizens have access to public hearings and avoid rule changes that cause or contribute to environmental injustice. Read the MPCA’s proposal, WaterLegacy’s Comments and where to send your comments on WaterLegacy’s Environmental Justice page.

View The Preliminary Final Polymet Environmental Impact Statement (PFEIS)

June 2015

The Preliminary Final Environmental Impact Statement on PolyMet has been released by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for review and comment by state, federal and tribal agencies.This is the last step before releasing the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which will likely happen in the fall and be followed by a public comment period. Even though the PFEIS is not up for public comment yet, you can view the document here in its entirety.