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Environmental group allowed into Twin Metals lawsuit

A Minnesota environmental group will be allowed to intervene in a federal lawsuit filed by Twin Metals last year against the federal government.

A federal judge Tuesday ruled that Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness to join the Interior Department in battling against the lawsuit, filed by Twin Metals last September.

The federal government under the Obama administration moved to withhold mineral leases from Twin Metals and also moved to close off an area near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to all new mining while the issue was studied. That decision could effectively end Twin Metals’ plan to mine copper along the Kawishiwi River southeast of Ely.

Twin Metals said the government overstepped its authority in refusing to renew the leases. A hearing on the suit is scheduled for April 28.

The entire lawsuit could be moot, however, if the Trump administration simply overturns the Obama-era decision on the mining access.