Patrick Schultz, Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, issued an order Friday saying the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has legal standing to challenge a land transfer between the U.S. Forest Service and the PolyMet mine. The land transfer would open the door for the company to pursue its plans to operate an open-pit copper-nickel mine on that land.
PolyMet challenged Fond du Lac’s legal standing to bring the lawsuit, arguing the Band had no legal interest in the land exchange.
Schultz disagreed. He ruled the Treaty of 1854 between the Fond du Lac Band and the U.S. government gave the Band treaty-protected rights to hunt, fish, and gather on the lands in question, so it has legal standing to bring the case.Continue reading