Attend the PolyMet public meetings

There will be two opportunities in early December for the public to attend meetings about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for PolyMet Mining Corp.’s proposed sulfide mine:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 9, Memorial Gymnasium, Mesabi East Schools, 601 North First Street West, Aurora, Minn. (map)
  • Thursday, Dec. 10, Schwan Center, National Sports Center, 1700 105th Avenue Northeast, Blaine, Minn. (map)

The meetings start at 7 p.m. and will be preceded by open houses beginning at 5 p.m.

Turnout  is expected to be high, and the mining industry and its allies will be there in force. If you are worried about  speak up for your values of clean water, stewardship, and wilderness. If you can’t make the event, you can submit your own comments on the project here.

For more information, check out this fact sheet about deficiencies in the PolyMET DEIS and keep an eye on this website for more information that will be useful when attending the meetings.

You can read the DEIS yourself online and at libraries and other public places around the state:

  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, Minn.
  • DNR Regional Office, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, Minn.
  • DNR Regional Office, 1525 Third Avenue East, Hibbing, Minn.
  • Hoyt Lakes Public Library, 206 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Hoyt Lakes, Minn.
  • Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior Street, Duluth, Minn.
  • Minneapolis Public Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minn.

Film events scheduled around the state

Attend a “Precious Waters” film showing and learn about sulfide mining and how you can make your voice heard on this important issue.

Austin, MN

Today, Nov. 19, 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Riverland Community College
West Building
1900 Eighth Ave. N.W.
Friends policy director Betsy Daub will be available to answer questions

Fargo, North Dakota

Monday, November 23, 8 p.m.
Century Theater, Memorial Union
Organized by the Northern Preservation and Restoration Society

Duluth – Two Events!

Thursday, December 3
Duluth League of Women Voters Forum
US EPA Conference Center
6200 Congdon Blvd, Duluth
Showing of Precious Waters at 6:30 p.m. followed by a panel discussion and audience questions

Monday, December 7
Teatro Zuccone
222 E. Superior St.
Movie showing at 7 p.m., followed by a panel of local speakers

More events are being scheduled and we’ll post details as soon as we have them.

Help spread the word by organizing a “Precious Waters” showing in your community!

Flambeau Mine hardly a success story

Industry and agency sources quoted in a story from Minnesota Public Radio today basically have one defense of Wisconsin’s Flambeau mine: “If the government says that mining pollution is okay, you, the citizen, should too.”

The Flambeau mine is frequently pointed to by the Minnesota sulfide mining industry as an example where this form of mining was done “right. ” But, it turns out, the mine is actually polluting surrounding waters at rates far above water quality standards, and above what the company and the Wisconsin DNR predicted.

“[Is] iron and manganese high in that well? Yes, it is. Is it higher than they predicted? Yes it is,” [Mining program coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Phillip] Fauble said. “However, we’ve evaluated that, and our opinion is that even at these higher levels, they still meet the conditions of the permit.”

Because the agency gave the mining company a permit that only specified what kind of impact it could have on the nearby Flambeau River, not on groundwater and streams closer to the mine site, the DNR is giving the company a pass.

As is also noted in the article, the Flambeau mine was significantly smaller than PolyMet’s proposal, and the ore was processed elsewhere, so the dangerous waste from that part of the operation was never a factor, whereas PolyMet will be doing the processing for its mine on-site.

Read the whole story…

Birch Lake mining proposal takes big step forward

Franconia Minerals Corporation announced a significant development last week in its proposal. Franconia would like to mine sulfide ores underneath Birch Lake, just a few miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and in a river system that flows into the BWCAW.

The company issued a press release announcing on Thursday announcing that it has begun work to study how

“waste materials – primarily rock – will weather when they are exposed or stockpiled during the mining process. The long term results of these studies will be used in the design and development of any future mine plan in order to minimize or eliminate potential environmental impacts created by such weathering.”

Franconia’s announcement, coming just days after the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the PolyMet project, demonstrates how other companies are “lined up like cars behind a snowplow.” In fact, as part of last week’s announcement, Franconia’s CEO stated, “Our goal is to be ready to become the second company in the Duluth Complex, after Polymet, to build a mine.”

Welcome to “Precious Waters” online

We are very proud to launch the “Precious Waters” website, where you can watch the entire film, learn more about sulfide mining, and take action on this important issue.

Now is the time to share this film with everyone you know who cares about clean water. You can post it on Facebook or Twitter, send a link via email, or even organize a showing for your civic group, hunting or angling club, property-owner association, your friends, or any other group.

Find a public showing near you.

Thank you for all your support!

Film premiere photos

Thanks to Scott Haraldson for sending over these photos from the “Precious Waters” premiere!

Minnesota Public Radio covers the film

We’re very pleased that Minnesota Public Radio published an article about “Precious Waters” today:

While PolyMet’s project could be a concern, there are many other sulfide mining projects that could come up in the near future, and the film is focused more on the overall issue of sulfide mining, said Paul Danicic, executive director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

“This really is trying to lay the groundwork, whether it’s the PolyMet project, or it’s legislation or it’s future projects, we just want people to pay attention to what’s going on,” Danicic said. “The film is an attempt to start a conversation and build awareness.”

The article emphasizes that, though this film project was a costly undertaking, it received support from a diverse coalition of small businesses and citizen and environmental groups. A lot of people and organizations believed that such a film was needed to raise public awareness and inspire broad, informed public discussion, and they put their trust and confidence in the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness to produce the right film. They have our gratitude.

Read the whole article.

“Precious Waters” trailer

PolyMet draft environmental review released

After much delay, the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the first sulfide mining proposal in Minnesota has been released by the Department of Natural Resources.

Conservation organizations, including the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and many supporters of “Precious Waters,” are going to be studying the document closely. Look for additional information about what is contained in the DEIS in the near future and resources to help you speak up and take action to submit your own comments to the DNR when the public comment period begins on Nov. 2.

Production stills

Here’s a few photos from shooting the film in northeastern Minnesota during July.

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