Court Says Minnesota Can Regulate Mine Waste Seeping Into Groundwater

"Minnesota high court lets MPCA impose standards affecting groundwater."

"State regulators can apply stricter drinking water standards to limit the groundwater pollution coming from a northern Minnesota taconite mine, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) was within its authority when it decided that the pollution that has been seeping from the mine's waste for years has harmed groundwater that met the state's strictest water-quality standards — standards that include drinking water, Justice Paul C. Thissen wrote on behalf of the court.

The decision throws out an appellate court ruling that the MPCA couldn't use the stricter standards when it issued a contentious permit to Minntac's mine in Mountain Iron, owned by U.S. Steel Corp.

The ruling is a clear victory for state regulators and environmental groups, who argued the state was allowed to limit sulfate pollution into groundwater — not just surface water."

Greg Stanley reports for the Minneapolis Star Tribune February 10, 2021.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 02/12/2021