EPA accused of watering down letter on Minn. mine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An environmental lawyer accuses the Environmental Protection Agency of watering down a letter that praised progress toward completing a long-awaited review of plans for building the first copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

Paula Maccabee of WaterLegacy says an early draft she obtained under the state freedom of information law was much tougher than the final version, which the mine’s developer has been publicly touting this week.

PolyMet Mining’s vice president for governmental and environmental affairs, LaTisha Gietzen, denies the company put political pressure on EPA to tone down the letter.

The letter summarizes the EPA’s review of an updated environmental impact statement still being prepared for the proposed mine near Babbitt and processing facility near Hoyt Lakes. The report is expected to be released for public comment early next year.

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