Board to consider health impacts of mining plans

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ST. PAUL — The Environmental Quality Board holds a hearing Wednesday on a petition by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians to require comprehensive assessments of the impacts on human health of proposed copper-nickel mines.

The doctors’ group has asked that independently produced assessments be required as part of the environmental review process. Dr. Debbie Allert, president of the group’s Lake Superior chapter, says they’re trying to protect patients from a new kind of mining they say could increase toxins in air, water and food.

The proposal won’t directly affect the planned PolyMet mine near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, which has already completed the environmental review process.

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But Paula Maccabee of the environmental group WaterLegacy says it would affect the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely and a potential Kennecott mine near McGregor.