The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness submitted a petition to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) March 1 requesting a contested case hearing on the PolyMet permit to mine application. The petition asks for specific changes to the PolyMet draft permit to mine, or a hearing if the changes are not ordered by the DNR.

“Before making a decision on the PolyMet permit, a full, fair, and fact-based hearing is needed so the DNR commissioner can make a decision that protects Minnesotans,” Kevin Lee, senior attorney at MCEA, said in a news release. “As we’ve examined the record, we’ve found Minnesota Department of Natural Resources employees and outside experts have raised serious concerns about the safety of PolyMet’s mine plans, particularly the mine waste dam.”

Six reports analyzing the PolyMet draft permit to mine were also submitted from mine engineers, geochemists, geophysicists and hydrologists, the petitioners said. They questioned dam safety and financial assurance while also contending PolyMet's permit application is vague, lacking specific conditions and a time limit.

Comments may be submitted to the DNR until March 6 at http://polymet.mn.gov.