Overwhelming majority supports judicial hearing before permit decisions are made

DULUTH, MINNESOTA -- A poll of Duluth residents shows overwhelming support for holding a hearing where all sides can present expert evidence before deciding on permit applications for the PolyMet mine proposal.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling and paid for by Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, found that 70% of Duluth residents agree “the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources should hold a hearing run by an impartial judge where all sides can present evidence before making a decision on permits for PolyMet.” Only 22% of those surveyed disagreed with this statement.

Duluth residents are divided on whether they support or oppose the PolyMet mine proposal 41% to 41%, with 18% of those surveyed “not sure.” Regardless of whether respondents support or oppose the PolyMet proposal, there was majority support for holding a judicial hearing in advance of the decision. 55% of respondents who support the PolyMet proposal agree that a hearing run by an impartial judge should be held before a decision on PolyMet’s permit application is made.

A group of Duluth citizens called “Duluth for Clean Water” has called for a pre-decision hearing in front an impartial judge (called a “contested case hearing.”) These poll results show an overwhelming majority of Duluth citizens agree with their request. Regardless of political party, age, or feelings about the PolyMet proposal, a majority of every group supports the idea of a judicial hearing before a decision on permitting PolyMet is made by the Minnesota DNR.

“This is the time for the City of Duluth to speak up and let the State of Minnesota know what Duluth citizens want from the PolyMet permit process,” said Tonia Kittelson, Northern Communities Director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “These poll results show that Duluth, the largest community downstream of the proposal, wants a full, fair, and fact-based examination of PolyMet’s permit application.”

ABOUT THE POLL: Public Policy Polling (Raleigh, NC) surveyed 628 Duluth voters on August 31 and September 1, 2016. The poll has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.9%. Full results and cross-tabs are available below.