What meaning does the phrase “long term” have in Polymet’s view?

looking into the wilderness

We, as the taxpaying citizens, cannot know how accurately the modeling was done for the SDEIS and the FEIS concerning the North Met Project because we are not privy to the minutiae.  We do not know how the data was applied, exactly; though, we do know that much data readily available on mining in the Mesabi Range was not used … nor were the effects of variables, like weather and cumulative impacts of waste from previous mine pits and tailings’ basins, added substantially into the calculations.  We are asked, simply, to trust Polymet and the vested interests in this mining operation, in effect … asked to trust that everything will be worked out in process as the mine is being built and operated with the awe inspiring words: “as needed”!

We are expected to trust in a computer model based on assumptions and short term, hand-picked data to determine outcomes of something that will be lived and experienced in real time holistically, possibly, for as long as any of the interested parties live and beyond, into perpetuity … without knowing what to expect from the effects of climate change, without proper in-depth long term studies of confined aquifers and other varied hydrological features in this very complex geological area of northeastern Minnesota being figured into the studies.

The “long term” studies of these environmental impact statements, after over forty years of flirting with the prospect of copper mining the gabbro complex, amount to a pittance … days, maybe 30, or as much as a few years chosen arbitrarily to prove the least damaging scenario.  Criteria established that skirts the Clean Water Act and fails to take cumulative effects from all mines in the area into account amounts to avoidance of the real issue: that no mining should be allowed in this water dependent ecosystem, that whole ecosystems will be changed forever and that no amount of “restoration” will bring them back.

Long term is not 30 days or a handful of years.  Long term is what we will all suffer if this mine is allowed to operate for any amount of time.  Long term for maintenance and so-called “clean up” will be forever.  What entity can honestly guarantee this?  What entity can project outcomes into a future that cannot be known?  Certainly we cannot know using the most cursory evidence mapped by and fed into a computer model engineered, chosen and paid by those who stand to profit.  It will give outcomes that feed the profit model, naturally.  Will the profit model work to prevent water pollution?  Will it work to protect our wilderness?

Are we looking for short term profit – 40 years, 100 years …  a bust and boom economy that sends our resources out of state and destroys the only long term benefits we have – our water, the wilderness, an ecosystem of such beauty?  Or, do we stand to protect our base from the few that truly profit in a mining scenario?  Do we live or merely survive?  This is ultimately the question.

Listen to our brothers and sisters who have lived here for generations, who have understanding of thousands of years – who know what it means to live in harmony with the lands and waters of this priceless wilderness that is northern Minnesota.

This is a land in the Duluth Gabbro complex that gave birth to glacial lakes that grew into Lake Superior and the Great Lakes, three of the greatest rivers on the North American continent, to the BWCAW … and still it sheds its water from glacial origins in over sixty creeks, rivers and falls along the North Shore, flowing into Lake Superior.


Comments on the FEIS are due on December 21, 2015 (an extension of one week from the original deadline).  We cannot afford to lose this treasure to mining interests.  Please let Governor Dayton know what you think as well.









Author: Anita Suzanne Dedman-Tillemans

For love of wilderness.