COMMUNITY VOICES | PolyMet supporters spread misinformation concerning efficacy of iron amendment for Minnesota waters

Fear-mongering is the latest buzzword being used by the sulfide mining industry and its supporters, used to divert attention away from the toxic metal poisoning of our children; primarily the result of a taconite industry that does not meet standards. If the grossly underestimated calculations for water flowage, water seepage, and mercury levels discovered in PolyMet’s SDEIS are any indication; the sulfide mining industry is planning to do the same. While PolyMet supporters are busy spreading misinformation.It would have been advisable for PolyMet shareholder Harlan Christensen to do more reading before he wrote his MinnPost piece, “Iron Range sulfide mining can be done without harming wild rice or raising mercury levels.” Wildly exaggerating, he claimed that there is “widely accepted scientific evidence that iron reduces mercury methylation.”The research he referred to, from a single early University of California, Berkeley, study in 2003, has been ongoing and was revised in 2010: “Impact of iron amendment on net methyl mercury export from tidal wetland microcosms” (including referenced supporting material).’10EST-27-HgFeWetland.pdf The Berkeley research is still unfinished and flawed. It has not been tested in the field. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | It’s a whopper: PolyMet’s myth of 99.38% tailings seepage collection

In January, the Ely Timberjay broke the story that PolyMet’s Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) had a problem; its water flow modeling was flawed. Definitely a big problem when the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) seriously underestimated the amount of water available to transport pollutants. Perhaps a show-stopping problem; the DNR is not talking. The Tribes have been saying for years that water flow numbers were wrong.The DNR’s troubles have just begun. PolyMet’s SDEIS has yet another flaw. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Saving our lake country

Over a century ago, on February 13, 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation creating the Superior National Forest.On the 75th Anniversary of the Superior National Forest’s inception I wrote about the origins of my love for northern Minnesota in the Naturalist Magazine. I wrote about “places of deep blue waters, rugged shoreline and sunsets that envelop the soul.”“…There was one summer night, long past the time of the sun, when the water was dark but the sky was covered with a bright lacing of stars. Light from my little cabin touched the lake with a long reaching glimmer; pine stretched upward into the night sky, and from somewhere in distant reaches came that familiar haunting cry of the loon. I stepped into the water and slowly walked out toward the depths. When I was well within the cool lake I swam forward into the darkness where water and air are separated only by feeling…”Almost exactly 105 years after Roosevelt created the Superior National Forest, we are about to destroy it.If PolyMet is permitted our lake country will be gone, as we know itThe Star Tribune recently printed results from its Minnesota Poll. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | PolyMet’s SDEIS: Perpetual water treatment and sulfide mining are synonymous – some are just having difficulty recognizing it

Definition of perpetual: “Continuing or lasting for an indefinitely long time.” Like centuries.Legal Definition of perpetual: “That which is to last without limitation as to time; as, a perpetual statute, which is one without limit as to time, although not expressed to be so.” (Black’s Law Dictionary)Definition of perpetual existence of a corporation: “having no end date.”PolyMet, a corporation without an end date is perpetual but its pollution, also without an end date, is not perpetual?The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement {SDEIS) description of PolyMet’s NorthMet Project pollution: “Both mechanical and non-mechanical treatment would require periodic maintenance and monitoring activities. Mechanical water treatment is part of the modeled NorthMet Project Proposed Action for the duration of the simulations (200 years at the Mine Site, and 500 years at the Plant Site). The duration of the simulations was determined based on capturing the highest predicted concentrations of the modeled NorthMet Project Proposed Action. It is uncertain how long the NorthMet Project Proposed Action would require water treatment, but it is expected to be long-term; actual treatment requirements would be based on measured, rather than modeled, NorthMet Project water quality performance, as determined through required monitoring.” In other words, wait and see just how bad it will get, then monitor and decide on “actual treatment requirements.”“Modeled.” “Simulations.” “Highest predicted concentrations.” “Uncertain.” “Long-term.” Tucked among the verbiage evidence that the pollution will be worse than the predicted (minimum) of 200 years at the mine site and 500 years at the plant site. The United States has only been around for 237 years.“Long-term” water treatment, for more than twice the time our country has existed – with no end in sight – certainly fits the definition of perpetual. Continue Reading