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In re Applications for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed NorthMet Project

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20088
Nos. A18-1312, A18-1524, and A18-1608, (Minn. Ct. App., 05/28/2019)

In an unpublished opinion, a state appellate court upheld the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' decision denying a request for the preparation of a supplemental EIS for a proposed copper-nickel-platinum group elements mine. Environmental groups challenged the Department's determination that expansions to the proposed mine that were discussed in a technical report filed by the mining company were not sufficiently foreseeable to require a supplemental EIS. But the court deferred to the Department's judgment and concluded that it properly considered that the report itself characterized the discussion as preliminary and that no permits had been sought for expansion. The groups also argued that the company's change to the proposed mine—elimination of a wastewater treatment facility and addition of a mine-to-plant pipeline—required preparation of a supplemental EIS because the change had potential for significant environmental effects. The court again concluded the Department's decision was based on proper application of the law and supported by substantial evidence.