St. Paul, Minn. (June 4, 2021) – Jobs for Minnesotans released the below statement following the determination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the PolyMet NorthMet project may affect water quality of the Fond du Lac reservation and the state of Wisconsin:
“Jobs for Minnesotans is deeply disappointed in and disagrees with today’s determination by the EPA on the PolyMet project. This ultimately could delay a critical project for the region of northeast Minnesota, our state and country. If there is an evidentiary hearing, we strongly urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move expeditiously.
“It’s important to distinguish that the EPA’s decision does not say that PolyMet will affect the downstream water quality, only that an “affect may be possible.” We are confident the 16-year scientific record from the thorough environmental review of the project will stand.
“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency previously certified the project’s treated water met water quality standards under the Clean Water Act at discharge. This EPA decision does not specifically overturn that science, it merely speculates that it “may affect” communities more than 100 river miles downstream from the project.
“We encourage supporters of responsible industry to stay strong as we wait for this and other issues in the court to be resolved related to the PolyMet project. We will continue the fight for this project that is incredibly important to the future of our northeast Minnesota communities, state, and country.
“The PolyMet NorthMet project is expected to provide 360 family-sustaining jobs to northeast Minnesota, a region current experiencing severe economic disparities and unemployment rates compared to the Twin Cities. The project will also be the first in Minnesota to mine metals needed for the growing demand of renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other climate change solutions. Now more than ever, it is critical we secure the ability to mine these metals domestically, where these projects are held to the highest environmental and labor standards in the world.”
About Jobs for Minnesotans
Jobs for Minnesotans, a coalition representing business, labor and communities, supports statewide opportunities for prosperity and middle-class jobs from sustainable natural resource development in Minnesota. The organization is committed to the principle that our state can preserve both job opportunities and the environment for future generations. Jobs for Minnesotans was co-founded in 2012 by the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council representing 70,000 workers and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representing 6,300 members and 500,000 employees. For more information, visit jobsforminnesotans.org, follow @JobsforMN on Twitter and find the coalition on Facebook.com/Jobs4MN.
Media Contact: Nancy Norr, Board Chair