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In response to the MPCA’s actions, in August 2023—for the first time ever in Minnesota history—the Minnesota Supreme Court concluded that a state agency had engaged in procedural irregularities. In fact, the Court issued a stinging rebuke of the MPCA, ruling that the MPCA’s irregular procedures to hide federal criticisms of the PolyMet permit and to destroy official documents were “danger signals” that the MPCA “did not genuinely engage in reasoned decision-making.”  

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision to throw out PolyMet’s water pollution permit was a complete vindication of WaterLegacy’s work after many years of investigation and litigation, much of which was supported by the Impact Fund. The Minnesota Supreme Court not only reversed a major PolyMet permit, but also held that “secrecy is unacceptable.” The Court’s decision has already been cited several times, and we believe it will have important precedential value in Minnesota to protect clean water and regulatory integrity. 

Most importantly, since the courts stayed PolyMet’s permits while MPCA’s irregular procedures were investigated and litigated, PolyMet was not allowed to begin mine construction. Although PolyMet’s permits were issued in the fall of 2018, five years later, no wetlands have been destroyed, no resources needed for the exercise of treaty-reserved rights have been impaired, and none of the streams, rivers, or lakes in the Lake Superior Basin have been polluted by the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine. 

Learn more about WaterLegacy and find updates on our work at:  

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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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