Minnesota News

Northeastern Minnesota minerals leases draw citizen opposition

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Citizens in northeastern Minnesota plan to file a petition Tuesday objecting to the state's plans to auction off more metallic minerals exploration leases, saying the potential for new prospecting and mining could have a significant impact on the environment.

A copy provided to The Associated Press asks that the Department of Natural Resources prepare an environmental assessment worksheet before awarding the leases. It says they could affect trout streams and other sensitive resources, drinking water wells, popular recreational trails and property values. More than 140 people have signed it.

The DNR announced formal plans to auction the mineral rights to 64,000 acres this month.

Kathy Lewis, assistant director of the DNR Lands and Minerals Division, says it's not clear if the petition will delay the process for awarding the leases.

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