Federal judge lifts hold on lawsuits against PolyMet mine

PolyMet completed swapping 6,650 acres of federal land in the Superior National Forest for a similar amount of private land last June. (U.S. Forest Service)

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge in Minnesota has lifted a hold that had been placed on four lawsuits challenging the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen doesn’t list next steps, but her decision to lift the stay means the cases can proceed.

The lawsuits filed by environmental groups sought to block a land swap that PolyMet needed to move forward.

PolyMet completed swapping 6,650 acres of federal land in the Superior National Forest for a similar amount of private land last June.

Ericksen put the cases on hold in March while Congress considered legislation that would have forced the land exchange. But the land swap has since occurred.

The environmental groups say the deal undervalues the federal land and violates other laws. PolyMet disputes that.

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