Adding another lawsuit to a growing list, environmental groups are seeking to stop federal agencies from allocating land for the planned PolyMet mine in northern Minnesota, according to a release.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks and Save Our Sky Blue Waters filed the latest lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday, claiming the open-pit mine would destroy important habitat for gray wolves and Canada lynx.
Those two species are shielded under the Endangered Species Act, and are therefore entitled to federal protections against habitat destruction and other disruptions.
Under fire is an exchange that would swap 6,650 acres of land in the Superior National Forest for a comparable amount of nearby private land in an effort to circumvent environmental regulations.
The deal would destroy more than 1,700 acres of “critical” habitat for the close to 200 remaining Canada lynx in the state, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service report on the plan. Despite this, the FWS determined the deal would not “adversely modify” the species.
Environmental groups are challenging this determination, adding this lawsuit to a similar one filed in January by WaterLegacy. Two older lawsuits concerning the deal allege the Forest Service undervalued its land.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.