Environmentalists sue to block land swap for PolyMet mine in northeastern Minnesota

Two environmental groups contend that a possible mining project in northeastern Minnesota would be detrimental to the habitat of the gray wolf.

MINNEAPOLIS — Two environmental groups are suing to block a land exchange for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, saying the project would destroy important habitat for the gray wolf and Canada lynx.

Earthworks and the Center for Biological Diversity on Tuesday, Jan. 10, filed the legally required 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service for agreeing to the land swap. They say the mine would destroy nearly 4,000 acres of habitat for wolves and lynx, which are listed as threatened.

The Forest Service on Monday, Jan. 9, approved trading 6,650 acres of the Superior National Forest to PolyMet for about the same amount of private land elsewhere in the forest. The Fish and Wildlife Service says the mine won’t significantly harm either species.

Last month, the Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture denied the federal mineral rights leases needed for an underground mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely in northeastern Minnesota.


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