Telling the U.S. Forest Service Don’t Trade our Land Away
Yesterday was the official deadline (although comments after November 29 will still be considered) for comments on the scope of analysis that the U.S. Forest Service must complete before trading away 6,650 acres of Superior National Forest land in order to allow the PolyMet open pit sulfide mine to proceed.
Why might trading away our forests and wetlands for the PolyMet mine be a bad idea? [Hint: what creates 375,000,000 tons of waste rock piles, acid mine drainage and is certain to go bankrupt when it is time to clean up its pollution?]
• The land exchange would give PolyMet a huge private windfall, while creating a huge loss for the public. Across the country, this type of “deal” has been a national scandal. Public land is systematically undervalued so that international mining companies can get sweetheart deals.
• The land exchange and the resulting open pit sulfide mine would violate the Forest Plan for the Superior National Forest and result in irreparable environmental harm — destroying wetlands of national importance, generating huge piles of waste rock and tailings, seeping acid mine drainage, increasing mercury in fish, destroying habitat for endangered species, including the Canada lynx and gray wolf and violating water quality standards for thousands of years if not forever.
• The land exchange would harm Tribal rights and interests, one more example of how the United States government fails to meet obligations in the Treaties signed with Tribes.
• The proposed land exchange is inconsistent with federal statutes, federal rules, the Forest Service Handbooks, Uniform Standards of Appraisal, the Forest Plan and federal case law.
Comments made on behalf of WaterLegacy on the analysis that must be done before public lands can be exchanged to make way for the PolyMet open pit sulfide mine are attached here.WaterLegacyComment. If an analysis of the land exchange and the law were done with any rigor, the proposed PolyMet Land Exchange must be rejected.
It is not too late to tell the U.S. Forest Service to save our land from sulfide mining plunder.