Land exchange bill could bring PolyMet one step closer to produc - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Land exchange bill could bring PolyMet one step closer to production

Posted: Updated:
Hoyt Lakes, MN -

Congressmen Rick Nolan's land exchange bill got its first hearing in Washington D.C. on Friday. 

If approved, it would bring PolyMet one step closer to beginning production.

The Hoyt Lakes copper-nickle mine has been in the works for over a decade. 

Congressman Nolan's bill  would allow the U.S  Forest Service to move forward with a land exchange at the proposed PolyMet site.

"It creates many, many good paying jobs, and facilitates the mining of the kind of minerals that are essential for our economy, for our national security,  for a carbon free footprint in the future," said Rep. Nolan D-Crosby. 

Congressman Nolan's bill would nullify four federal lawsuits filed by environmental groups that say the land PolyMet would receive was undervalued and violates other laws. 

The swap would mean the U.S Forest Service would receive almost 6,700 acres of private land from PolyMet. 

In return, PolyMet would receive a similar amount of federal land located in an established mining district.

Without access to that land, PolyMet wold not be able to continue with its project, despite owning the mineral rights. 

Congressman Nolan says exchanging land that will be used for recreation and conservation for a plot of mining land is a win-win situation. 

"There's a net gain of acreage, there's a net gain of wetlands, there's a net gain of wild rice lands, there's a net gain of lake shore front. In return, giving up, property that is a mining site, where there is little or no overland access to by the public," said Nolan. 

Meanwhile, some in opposition to the land exchange proposal protested in front of Congressman Nolan's Duluth office.

Environmentalists say they are concerned about the potential Hoyt Lakes Mine, saying any potential pollution from the mine would have an adverse effect on tourism in Northeastern Minnesota.

In addition, they say the mine could not only have a negative impact on our regions water, but the wildlife as well. 

"The PolyMet land exchange site, whatever they do with it,  if they mine it, it's going to be horrible, even if they just cut the timber off of it, it's going to have an impact on the wolves and endangered species," said Dennis Szymialis, while he protested the bill in Duluth. 

Ahead of Congressman Nolan's introduction of the bill, PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry released a statement, stating in part quote, "We are committed to moving the project forward in a thoughtful and expeditious manner and are pleased Congressman Nolan is taking this step to bring closure to the land exchange process." 

Powered by Frankly