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Minnesota PolyMet mine deal halted by environmental groups
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Minnesota PolyMet mine deal halted by environmental groups

This U.S. photo shows a Canada lynx. Fish and Wildlife Service handout photo. REUTERS/Courty of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout

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Jan 25, 2017 (Reuters) – Environmentalists sued U.S. Forest Service Tuesday in an attempt reverse a 2017 land transfer that gave PolyMet Mining Corp. (POM.TO), more than 6,600 acres (2.670 hectares), needed to build an open-pit copper and gold mine in northern Minnesota.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is leading the suit. It claims that the project would decimate a region that is home to the Canada lynx, and the northern long-eared Bat. Both of these species are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Marc Fink, a CBD attorney, stated that federal agencies cannot ignore the threat to animals heading for extinction.

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Similar lawsuits against CBD and others were unsuccessful in 2019. The court found that the parties lacked standing since PolyMet had not yet obtained permits. Thus, there was no way for the court to determine if the project would be a danger to the region.

PolyMet has since purchased the land and obtained most permits. The environmental groups have asked the court to hear their claims and order the Forest Service the land be returned.

The U.S. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland are all co-defendants.

Glencore Plc (GLEN.L), which controls PolyMet, stated that it believes the land transfer will be approved. Bruce Richardson, spokesperson for PolyMet, stated that they are confident they will be able address any issues.

CBD is also being sued by Save Lake Superior Association, Save Our Sky Blue Waters and Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest.

The case is Center for Biological Diversity et al v. Deb HALAND, Secretary of the Interior et al. U.S District Court for the District of Minnesota, No. 0:22-cv-00181.

This lawsuit comes just days after a state court ordered regulators reconsider a wastewater permit for PolyMet. Read more

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Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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