PolyMet makes false statement about EPA criticism

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency gave the PolyMet mine draft environmental impact statement the lowest possible rating the agency can assign such a document. Citing incomplete work and unacceptable pollution, the EPA assigned the project its “Environmentally Unsatisfactory – Inadequate” rating.

The rating highlights the extraordinary threats represented by the mine to clean water. The agency does not assign such ratings very often. In the past 23 years, the EPA has reviewed 11,834 EISes and gave the rating it gave to PolyMet to only 41, or 0.3 percent. In the upper Midwest region, the agency gave the rating to just 0.2 percent of the 844 EISes it reviewed.

Yesterday, PolyMet released a statement seeking to control the damage the EPA’s rating has done to its credibility. Unfortunately, the company included a statement in their press release that is blatantly false:

“The EPA’s rating of the draft EIS as unsatisfactory appears to have been based on the ‘proposed project’ without  consideration of alternatives or mitigations discussed in the document.”

This is false. In page two of the EPA’s letter, the agency states:

“This rating applies to the Proposed Action, the Mine Site Alternative and the Tailings Basin Alternative.”

There is no way to excuse such a misleading statement as PolyMet has made. Rather than offering specific details that respond to the EPA’s criticisms, the company has chosen only to muddy the waters.