ST. PAUL, MN -- In a ruling Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals sent air permits for PolyMet back to the MPCA for review.
The court said the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was wrong not to consider a report stating whether PolyMet intended to operate within the limits of the permit.
Environmental groups say based on reports released by PolyMet and later air permits issued in December 2018, the company would exceed that limit if it were to recover more ore.
The state agency has said PolyMet would have to reapply for permits if the company were to increase production.
"But if expansion is the current intent, the time to comply with PSD requirements is now. Of course, once a project is operating, expansion proposals may be viewed more favorably by regulators. If that is the true course being charted by PolyMet, then there is merit to relators’ argument that the synthetic-minor permit is a sham," Judge Rodenberg wrote in an opinion.
This is the fourth permit the Court of Appeals has rejected this year. PolyMet planned to issue a statement Monday. A spokesman for the MPCA said the agency was still reviewing the opinion.
The proposed PolyMet project in Hoyt Lakes is expected to create 360 jobs and generate an estimated $515 million annually.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.