High court asked to hear mineral leases case

Published 10:03 am Friday, October 11, 2013

DULUTH — A group of northeastern Minnesota residents has asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to consider whether the state should conduct environmental reviews before awarding mineral rights leases.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled last month the state does not have to conduct those reviews in advance. It said the mere act of granting a lease does not necessarily mean the land will ever be prospected or mined, but environmental reviews requirements can be triggered by more specific exploration plans.

An attorney for the landowners, Paula Maccabee, said they believe the case has statewide impact.

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The dispute has held up a package of 31 leases that had been on hold since last year. They’re scheduled to be resubmitted to the state’s executive council for approval Oct. 25.