DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan. 21, 2014
Second PolyMet meeting in Aurora; new videos help explain
The meetings are designed for the public to learn more about the environmental effects of the proposed NorthMet mine project in northeastern Minnesota near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt. Attendees will also have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the adequacy and completeness of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS).
Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released two new videos explaining the project proposal. The videos, which have been posted on DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/polymet, describe the project and the environmental review process in a series interviews with experts and with maps and photos. The videos will be shown at the Aurora meeting and at the upcoming meeting in St. Paul.
The Aurora public meeting will begin with an open house hosted by the DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Forest Service. Fifteen informational stations and representatives from state, federal and cooperating agencies will be available so participants can ask questions and discuss aspects of the SDEIS.
Public statements will be heard in the large gym, during the open house. This portion of the meeting will begin with a formal presentation at 6:45 p.m., followed by public comments, concluding at 10 p.m.
Because of an expected large turnout, it is unlikely the meeting will be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to speak during the public meeting. Meeting attendees will also have the option of submitting comments in writing on comment forms or by speaking one-on-one to a stenographer who will record oral comments.
The host agencies have engaged an independent facilitator who will select speakers at random from among all those attendees expressing a desire to speak. This process, utilized at the first meeting in Duluth, allows for the greatest number and diversity of speakers as possible.
All written comments become a part of the final EIS record and are public information. Written comments will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on March 13.
Following the public comment period, the DNR and co-lead agencies will review all comments, respond to substantive comments, adjust the information in the SDEIS if needed and ultimately publish a final EIS for public review.
PolyMet’s proposed project remains in the “environmental review” phase and public input on the SDEIS is an important component of this phase. The environmental review is not the approval phase of the project, which would occur during the permitting process.
The final public meeting about this project will be held at the St. Paul RiverCentre on Jan. 28.
The public can review and comment on the SDEIS through the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/polymet. The website includes the SDEIS, an executive summary, a series of fact sheets and the two videos designed to help the public understand the proposed project.