House Debates Minnesota Expanded Mining Legislation

In this photo taken Feb. 10, 2016, the closed LTV Steel taconite plant sits idle near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. The site, which closed in 2001, may return to life as part of Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine, owned by PolyMet. Photo: AP Photo/Jim Mone
In this photo taken Feb. 10, 2016, the closed LTV Steel taconite plant sits idle near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. The site, which closed in 2001, may return to life as part of Minnesota's first copper-nickel mine, owned by PolyMet.

November 30, 2017 07:12 AM

Legislation from two Minnesota congressmen which allows for expanded mining in northeastern Minnesota has caused broader environmental debate in the U.S. House and divided the state's congressional delegation.

The House Tuesday passed DFL Rep. Rick Nolan's bill that finalizes a land exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and PolyMet Mining. The exchange advances PolyMet's proposed copper-nickel mining project in northeastern Minnesota. Environmentalists say copper-nickel mining is more harmful to the area's waterways than the existing taconite mines.

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RELATED: Nolan Bill Would Force Completion of PolyMet Mine Land Swap

Protecting the region's environment also spurred lively debate Wednesday when Republican Rep. Tom Emmer defended his legislation that requires congressional approval of any move by federal officials to withdraw government-owned land from mining. A vote on Emmer's bill was delayed until Thursday.

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The Associated Press

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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