Mesabi Daily News
Passage of the bill in House marks a major milestone for the PolyMet project, which needs the land exchange to allow the Army Corps. of Engineers to weigh in on the project, effectively ending the federal hurdles for the long-awaited open pit copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes.
The land exchange, which was approved by the Obama administration, swaps more than 6,5000 acres with PolyMet and provides the federal government with more wetlands, public access lands, lakeshore and more. It does not approve the PolyMet project, Nolan stressed on the House floor Tuesday, but it does clear the way for the project in one respect, after more than 10 years of environmental review.
“It’s very exciting,” Nolan said “It’s going to put a lot of people back to work in the mines. The success of this long, drawn-out PolyMet process is being watched by a lot of people around the country and around the world.”
The bill needs a companion in the U.S. Senate to advance, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has volunteered to carry the bill in the upper chamber, Nolan said. Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., were early supporters of the land exchange bill, citing that the agencies had already signed off on it.