U.S. District Court Ends Federal Challenge to PolyMet’s Water Quality Permit

 St. Paul, Minn., February 16, 2021 – A federal judge dismissed a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s oversight of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System water quality permit issued to Poly Met Mining Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PolyMet Mining Corp. (together “PolyMet” or the “company”) TSX: POM; NYSE American: PLM. 

The challenge, filed in September 2019 by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, had argued that EPA should have objected to PolyMet’s permit before it was issued. But Judge Patrick J. Schiltz held that it had no jurisdiction to review EPA’s oversight role, and so dismissed the Band’s claim. 

Today’s decision ends the only federal court challenge to PolyMet’s water quality permit. However, PolyMet continues to litigate that permit in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, in part to defend a favorable Ramsey County District Court decision last fall finding that the permit was not the result of procedural irregularities. 

The federal court’s decision separately allowed the Band to proceed with claims that EPA should have notified the Band about the PolyMet project’s potential to affect the Band’s reservation, which lies 70 miles downstream. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has said that the project will have no effect that far downstream.