WASHINGTON, D.C. — An audit of the Environmental Protection Agency’s review of the permit for PolyMet’s controversial copper nickle mine is set to begin.
According to the EPA, the audit will be conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In a letter, the agency states the audit’s objective is to determine whether the EPA followed appropriate Clean Water Act and NPDES regulations to review the permit, which was approved by Minnesota, and was issued in 2018.
It continues to say a kickoff meeting will be held within the next two weeks, where the objective and purpose of the audit will be discussed, and answers will be provided to questions regarding the project process, reporting procedures, methods used to gather and analyze data, and what should be expected of each other throughout the project.
The OIG is asking region five to provide NPDES regulations and guidance that govern the EPA’s role in permit review, as well as analysis and meeting documents from all staff and management related to the review of the issued permit for the meeting, as well as Region five’s written comments for the permit.
The Regional Administrator for EPA Region 5 is Cathy Stepp, who according to her biography on the EPA website, served as the principal regional administrator for EPA Region 7, was secretary of the Wisconsin DNR from 2011-2017, and also served as a state senator for Wisconsin from 2003 to 2007.
Region 5 of the EPA covers Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as 35 federally recognized tribal governments.
You can read the full letter below, or click here to read on a mobile device.