News Archives

Watch the First-Ever Film of a Canoe Journey to the Proposed PolyMet Site!

June 2018


WaterLegacy organized a canoe trip to the site of the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel sulfide mine at the headwaters of the Partridge River. What we found there was a beautiful, biodiverse site (and breathtaking scenery along the way), not the brownfield that PolyMet claims. 

Please watch and share this first-ever PolyMet site documentary. Join us on this journey to show why the land and surrounding waters must be protected - for indigenous communities and all future generations of Minnesotans.

Governor VETOS Bill to Nullify Wild Rice Sulfate Standard

May 2018


May 9, 2018

Governor Dayton has vetoed the bill (HR3280) passed at the Legislature that would have nullified Minnesota’s limit on sulfate pollution in wild rice waters!

Call Governor Dayton at 651-201-3400 and send him a brief note to tell him “Thank You” for his veto on behalf of the wild rice, the fish, the clean water and the developing brains of our next generation who need our wild rice sulfate standard to be preserved and enforced. 

You can read the Governor’s veto letter here.


April 28: Paula Maccabee at Outdoor Adventure Expo

April 2018

Saturday, April 28 - WaterLegacy's Advocacy Director and Legal Counsel, Paula Maccabee, will give a presentation called PolyMet Sulfide Mining: Imminent Threat to Minnesota's Clean Water and Values in Room 107 of Hanson Hall on the U of M campus (just a short walk from Midwest Mountaineering). 

Please join us and invite your friends to learn about the risks that PolyMet poses to our clean water, climate change, human health, justice and sustainable economics in Minnesota. Learn how you can take action to protect our climate, our water and our values.

WaterLegacy has filed Objections to the PolyMet draft Permit to Mine, along with a Petition for Contested Case Hearing

March 2018

Fundamentally, the draft Permit to Mine for the PolyMet NorthMet copper-nickel mine fails to protect natural resources, particularly groundwater and surface water, and the communities - including aquatic life, wildlife and human beings - who rely upon these freshwater resources. Approval of this draft permit would pose a huge risk of creating a Superfund legacy of destruction and contamination in the headwaters of the St. Louis River, the largest United States tributary to Lake Superior.

"It's a Time to Speak Up": Paula Maccabee Talks to WDIO in Duluth

February 2018

"We are seeing, all across America, that Government is starting to work only for the very top-most powerful corporations and not for the rest of us. A Government that was working for the rest of us would be looking for sustainable economics in Northeastern Minnesota and looking at protecting Minnesota's most precious resource, which is the quality of our fresh water." 

WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Counsel, Paula Maccabee spoke to WDIO at last week's PolyMet permit hearings in Duluth about the need for recycling over mining and the crucial moment we're in for the future of Minnesota's clean water. 

Take a listen. 



January 2018

After long years of work in collaboration with Chippewa/Ojibwe Bands, the 1854 Treaty Authority, scientific experts and many dedicated citizens, an Administrative Law Judge with the concurrence of the Chief Judge has DISAPPROVED the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s proposal to eliminate Minnesota’s existing wild rice sulfate standard of 10 mg/L and restrict the wild rice waters to which a sulfate limit applies. WE WON!

The ALJ cited concerns about preventing increased mercury methylation as well as further harm to wild rice, applied both state and federal law and recognized the burdens that would be placed on Native American communities if the wild rice sulfate rule were changed. 

Congressman Keith Ellison Comes Out Against HR 3115

November 2017

November 2017

Thank you. In response to your comments on the PolyMet Land Exchange Rip-Off Bill (HR 3115), Congressman Keith Ellison, U.S. Representative from Minnesota’s 5th district, has sent a statement clearly opposing the bill: 

"The Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017 (H.R. 3115) would trade land in Minnesota's Superior National Forest to a mining company. The EPA has described the thousands of acres of wetlands in the Superior National Forest as an Aquatic Resource of National Importance. This bill has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, of which I am not a member. As a strong advocate for wilderness and our natural resources, I oppose this bill. I will be sure to keep your views in mind as this bill moves through Congress.



WaterLegacy Commentary – PolyMet would be a Climate-change Horror 

August 2017

July 2017

“U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and others seeking to prevent independent court review of the PolyMet land exchange . . . are feeding us a line — to benefit a small group of multibillion-dollar foreign corporate investors at the expense of climate change, as well as at the expense of our Minnesota water quality and public lands.

“The PolyMet mine project proposed for Minnesota would be a climate-change disaster. Over its 20-year mine plan, PolyMet admits that it would produce as much as 15.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent pollution — more than 10 million tons from its burning of fossil fuels alone.”

READ the complete Star Tribune Commentary by WaterLegacy Advocacy Director/Counsel Paula Maccabee here.

Congressman Nolan's Bill to Compel PolyMet Land Exchange Criticized as Bad Precedent and Rip-off

August 2017

July 2017

Over the July 4th weekend, Cong. Rick Nolan introduced a federal bill (HR 3115) that would force the PolyMet land exchange and prevent the federal court from analyzing whether the land exchange ripped off the public in violation of federal law. 

WaterLegacy strongly opposes the bill to compel the PolyMet land exchange: "This kind of circumventing the courts, circumventing due process, sets a very bad precedent for PolyMet, and also leaves the potential that Minnesota taxpayers and users of public land will be ripped off by this project," said Paula Maccabee, advocacy director and attorney for WaterLegacy, one of the groups that filed a lawsuit.

READ Minnesota Public Radio coverage here.

North Shore businessman Bill Hansen explained in a Duluth News Tribune Commentary that the federal bill to force the PolyMet cheats the public.

Wrote Hansen, “I think we all can agree our national forests shouldn't be given to wealthy foreign investors without, at the very least, fair compensation in return. As state Sen. Erik Simonson of Duluth asked in a tweet, "Since when does our government work for foreign corporations?"

READ Bill Hansen’s complete Duluth News Tribune Commentary here.


WaterLegacy Calls for Hearing and New EIS Analysis due to PolyMet “Bait-and-Switch Sulfide Mine Project Changes

August 2017

June 2017

On June 29, 2017, WaterLegacy called upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to require a supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) due to new information and changes in the PolyMet sulfide mine design.

“In its applications for state permits, PolyMet has given the citizens of Minnesota a classic bait-and-switch,” explained WaterLegacy Advocacy Director and Counsel Paula Maccabee. “In order to reduce its own upfront capital costs, PolyMet has proposed to do away with technology to reduce the risk of catastrophic tailings dam failure and eliminate the mine site wastewater treatment facility that was a central part of its plan to prevent long-term toxic pollution at the mine site. These changes increase the threat of harm to Minnesota waters and citizens, and require detailed and independent study under federal law.”

READ WaterLegacy’s Media Release here.

As Maccabee stated in a recent Associated Press article: "The project keeps changing and these are not changes for the better."

READ the complete AP article in the Star Tribune.