"MINNEAPOLIS — Lawyers for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine and state regulators urged the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday to defer to the judgment of the state Department of Natural Resources and reinstate three critical permits for the project.
Attorneys for the DNR and PolyMet argued that the agency acted within its authority when it decided, after years of public environmental review and permitting proceedings, that there was no need to hold an additional trial-like proceeding known as a contested case hearing. They said state statues gave the agency’s commissioner discretion to decide whether the hearing would have aided in his decision on whether to grant a permit to mine and two dam safety permits for the project.
“After taking a hard look at the salient issues, the commissioner issued a reasoned decision, supported by substantial evidence,” that the hearing wasn’t necessary, said Jon Katchen, an attorney for the DNR. “... The disputed issues have been exhaustively scrutinized for years.”"