Presenting our PolyMet 20 Questions. These are questions we've been asking that we just haven't gotten good answers to. Please pick your favorites and ask them too.
Some have expressed conditional support for PolyMet if “best practices” are used. Do the PolyMet permits reflect “best practices”?
Existing Minnesota iron mines have declined to use reverse osmosis, citing cost, and all are operating with variances. Does the PolyMet permit reflect the use of RO? If so, has PolyMet demonstrated effectiveness on the scale that would be required and the type of waste that would be generated? How does the sulfate standard debate in Minnesota relate to PolyMet’s proposal?
The Center for Science in Public Participation says that if a mine requires perpetual water treatment, it places an unreasonable risk on the public. Do the PolyMet permits resolve the question of perpetual water treatment?
Minnesota is preparing to appropriate 6.2 billion gallons of water every year to PolyMet at eight dollars per million gallons. How does this compare to the cost for Minnesota residential customers? Does this appropriation make sense in the context of the “water crises” that has been identified as one of the top five global risks for each of the past seven years by the World Economic Forum?
There is evidence that PolyMet waste would flow north into the Boundary Waters watershed as well as south into the Lake Superior watershed. Has this question been resolved?
Is water a strategic asset?
HEALTH AND SAFETY
PolyMet proposes to hold 225 million tons of wet tailings, elevated, behind a dam, for 500 years. Does the dam safety permit account for precipitation changes associated with climate change?
What percentage of US copper sulfide mines have had spills?
A Health Impact Assessment was not ordered by the DNR before permit issuance, despite the call from Minnesota health care professionals. Should an HIA have been ordered? Can one still be ordered?
Politicians including Rick Nolan have touted the need for copper in wind turbines. Have they also presented an analysis of other available sources of copper, including e-waste recycling? How much copper is available from the already refined copper in telephone lines that have now been replaced by fiber optics?
If all the copper from the proposed PolyMet mine was used in wind turbines, would that offset the greenhouse gas emission released during the mining process?
What percentage would the State of Minnesota receive from the mining of these metals, either through royalty or tax?
How does the economic value of the St. Louis River watershed compare to the promises of economic value associated with the PolyMet project?
What is the human rights and labor record of Glencore, and how important is its role in the PolyMet proposal? Has Glencore/PolyMet formally expressed an intent to recognize a union?
ENDANGERED SPECIES AND WEEKS ACT
$340,000 in mitigation is reflected in the PolyMet endangered species taking permit. Does PolyMet threaten endangered species?
Does the PolyMet land exchange violate the Weeks Act?
If the drinking water along the St. Louis River becomes non-potable, what would be the financial cost to downstream communities and Minnesota?
What should the role of local elected officials be related to the PolyMet proposal, specifically those downstream?
How does the State of Minnesota's leverage change in terms of protecting downstream communities pre- and post-permit issuance?
Are there any communities that are better off because of a sulfide mine?
Please ask these questions to regulators, the company, your elected officials, the press — whomever you see fit. They are important questions to Minnesota, and must be answered.