The federal Environmental Protection Agency has reversed itself and rejected a water quality variance for the Mesabi Nugget iron processing plant near Hoyt Lakes. Environmentalists and Chippewa bands had challenged the EPA’s 2012 decision to grant the variance. They said it improperly allowed the plant to exceed state standards for pollutant discharges.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to reverse its approval for a variance that lets the Mesabi Nugget iron processing plant near Hoyt Lakes violate Minnesota water quality standards but said Tuesday that the state and company will get the chance to reapply.
Prospects look bright for Minnesota’s iron mining industry in 2014 and 2015 after a dip in production this year. State officials expect 2013 will end with production of about 38.9 million tons of taconite.
The Mesabi Nugget plant will resume production, after it was shut down for maintenance earlier this month.