Price tag on future pollution underlies PolyMet mine debate

  • Article by: Josephine Marcotty , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2014 - 7:54 PM

State is trying to set size of PolyMet’s financial guarantee.

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endothermFeb. 8, 1410:26 PM

This proposal will benefit a few hundred miners and PolyMet investors. However, the environmental impact of the pollution it is sure to cause will impact thousands of people and put at risk way more jobs than it will create. The benefits are narrow and short term, and the consequences are broad and long lasting. When you add up the pros and cons of what PolyMet wants, this deal is just bad for Minnesota.

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rlwr51Feb. 8, 1410:30 PM

I have heard that the mine will provide 360 Minnesotans with jobs. If that is true and they each make $50,000/yr for 10 years, that is $180 million dollars in income for residents or $500,000 each, which isn't anywhere near cost estimates for cleanup that I ave heard. It would be cheaper and lead to more economic development of the area/state to hold a lottery and give 360 people $500,000. . . . . I also don't think it is a good idea to introduce sulfuric acid into the Lake Superior watershed.

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sek2undrstndFeb. 8, 1411:48 PM

The taxpayers of this nation paid over $1,000,000,000 to clean up the Clark Fork drainage in Montana after years of copper, gold, and silver mining and there is still more clean up necessary in the future. Take that Billion dollar price tag and extrapolate it 100 years using the present value of money equations and that should be your final figure. Please be generous when determining the financial assurance of the project. Remember that you are beholden to the taxpayers of Minnesota not the shareholders of PolyMet.

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chendoFeb. 9, 14 4:17 AM

The risks of this operation are huge and stand to benefit only a select few. When an operation like this holds imminent threats to our water supply, it doesn't make any sense to allow this to go forward. Polymet isn't a normal business with rights to seek profits- its a company that wants to benefit from the destruction of our environment, and we Minnesotans have every right to block such an attempt.

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jackpinesavFeb. 9, 14 8:20 AM

Time to take a slow and methodical look at this BEFORE we jump in. I mean "it's only water...what could go wrong!"...ask the folks in West Virginia that this week! It appears the state could offer $50,000 annually jobs doing infrastructure construction statewide to hundreds of iron rangers and save $$$$$. Or would that be socialism? Or just smart? Plus the real estate values and viablility of every business up there would be affected by contaminating the water. Just saying....

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elmore1Feb. 9, 14 8:21 AM

I would like to hear our political leaders (Mark, Al & Amy) weigh in on this. They have connections in other states and at the federal level and ought to bring that to light.

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patasticFeb. 9, 14 9:06 AM

Keep in mind that the Summitville Mine used open-air, cyanide leaching process to extract the gold from the ore. They laid the oreout on the ground and sprayed cyanid over it, which dissolve the gold into solution. This was done outside, so any rain that fell was taken into the leachate collection system. This process will not be used at Polymet.

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viktorvaughnFeb. 9, 14 9:32 AM

If Polymet was required to put up financial assurances to pay for clean-up and the hundreds of years of water treatment their EIS says it will require -- this project would not be financially viable. That's because their business model relies on passing the clean-up costs onto the public after they've extracted the mineral wealth and gone bankrupt.

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delverboyFeb. 9, 14 9:41 AM

I'm all for protecting the environment, but as long as we continue to use products that require these minerals then how can we say no to this mine. If it's not done here then it will be done somewhere else, likely a poorer country where there are few environmental restrictions. We need to figure out a way to live with our own messes and not export them.

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rlwr51Feb. 9, 1410:13 AM

Lowering the pH of water only slightly can dramatically change what is able to live in it. What could allowing even small amount of sulfuric acid into the lakes and streams (which are in the Lake Superior watershed) do to fishing (commercial and recreational)?

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