AGC Weighs in on Regulatory Process in PolyMet Decision

The Minnesota Court of Appeals’ decision last month tossing out permits issued to PolyMet Mining to build the state’s first copper-nickel mine opens an endless new loop of costly litigation and delay for both businesses and municipalities seeking state building permits. It ignores legal precedent and practical regulatory practices in place for many years. And it effectively replaces the judgment of experienced scientists and engineers who, in this case, worked for the DNR and spent months and years reviewing technical data on behalf of the public, with the judgment of solitary outside lawyers working as administrative law judges (ALJs).

"It would be hard to imagine a better recipe for regulatory uncertainty than having a loose outside process that allows virtually anyone who loses a permitting fight to demand a do-over, as happened in the PolyMet situation."

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