MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a challenge by environmental groups against the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, saying the Interior Department had the authority to reverse itself and renew the project’s federal mineral rights leases.
The Obama administration tried to kill Twin Metals by rejecting the company’s application to renew its leases, citing the risk of acid mine drainage to the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But the Trump administration gave the project a new lease on life when it reinstated those leases last year.READ MORE: Red Lake Nation Police Officer Ryan Bialke Killed In Line Of Duty; Suspect In Custody
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden in Washington, D.C., ruled that the Interior Department has the authority to correct what the agency argued was an error. He wrote that the department’s explanation was “thorough, thoughtful and reasonable — a far cry from ‘arbitrary and capricious’” as the project’s opponents claimed.READ MORE: Why Are Federal Tax Refunds Delayed? And What Can You Do About It?
Those opponents, including the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, said they would appeal. They said the plain language in the leases meant that Twin Metals was not entitled to an automatic lease renewal.
Twin Metals, owned by Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, filed its formal mine plan with state and federal regulators in December, launching what’s expected to be a lengthy environmental review and permitting process.MORE NEWS: Sheep Help Restore Native Prairie Habitat On Waseca Solar Farm
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