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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Speak out against PolyMet mining

To the editor, Many of us in Carlton County may have paddled a canoe or kayak on the St. Louis River, run the rapids above the Thomson Reservoir, or even below the dam. We have heard loons calling across the waters that we have fished. We have hu...

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To the editor,

Many of us in Carlton County may have paddled a canoe or kayak on the St. Louis River, run the rapids above the Thomson Reservoir, or even below the dam. We have heard loons calling across the waters that we have fished. We have hunted the pristine forests along the shoreline. We have hiked the trails of Jay Cooke State Park.

But today, from the marshes of Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt to the backwaters of the St. Louis River estuary, and even beyond to the waters of Lake Superior, this bountiful ecosystem that we know and love, this wild place that is our home, is at risk.

There are few issues that hit closer to home or have potentially longer lasting impact than that of sulfide mining in the St. Louis River watershed. And the people of Carlton County are legitimate stakeholders in this issue, especially those of us living in the cities, the townships and the reservation bordering the St. Louis River.

On Jan. 5, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a draft permit to mine, and set conditions that must be met by PolyMet to operate a copper-nickel sulfide mine. A period of public comments or objections to the permit has now begun, which will end March 6. After this, a final permit will be needed, which would be the first such permit ever issued in Minnesota. If approved, PolyMet's proposed mine would be located upstream from Cloquet, in the St. Louis River watershed.

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Unlike iron mining, which has been the backbone of our regional economy for decades, sulfide mining produces huge quantities of sulfuric acid as a toxic waste byproduct. PolyMet, a publicly traded company that has never before operated a mine, proposes to store these toxins on-site, upstream, for centuries, even in perpetuity if needed.

No doubt, there are some who will gain short-term profits from this enterprise. But it is the water, the land, the fish and wildlife, you and I, and the children of many generations to come who will pay the price.

Please engage in the DNR's public comment period by leaving your comments online a polymet.mn.gov.

Or, send them by U.S. Mail to: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Lands and Minerals, 500 Lafayette Rd. N., Box 45, St. Paul, MN 55155-4045.

Timothy Soden-Groves

Carlton

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