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Otto blasts PolyMet permits

State Auditor Rebecca Otto (Don Davis / Forum News Service)

Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto cemented her position as a critic of copper mining Tuesday with a harsh criticism of the proposed state mining permits for the PolyMet copper project.

The statement came a day before public meetings were set to be held on the permits.

Otto, who has in the past voted against state mineral leases for copper exploration in her position on the state’s Executive Council, said Tuesday that the draft permit to mine “allows PolyMet to store mine waste in a dangerous, outdated way that puts people and water downstream at risk.”

Otto, who is seeking the DFL endorsement for governor, has become the most vocal critic of copper mining among Minnesota gubernatorial candidates.

“The draft PolyMet permit to mine does not protect the public interest, puts people downstream at risk, and leaves taxpayers unprotected," Otto said in a statement. “As drafted, the PolyMet permit to mine doesn’t protect Minnesotans and should be rejected by the Minnesota DNR."