PolyMet scores by landing ex-pollution control chief for its top job

  • Updated: February 2, 2011 - 2:05 AM

Many in Minnesota's conservation community are buzzing about the recent announcement that Brad Moore, former Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioner and assistant commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, has taken a top job with PolyMet Mining of Hoyt Lakes.

PolyMet is proposing a $600 million, copper-nickle precious metals project in northeast Minnesota, near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The project is controversial because environmentalists fear the relatively pristine waters in the BWCA could be contaminated.

PolyMet has said the minerals can be extracted safely, and the project is under environmental review.

The addition of Moore as PolyMet's executive vice president for environmental and government relations doubtless lends considerable credibility to the mining company.

During his time at DNR and MPCA, Moore was highly respected by hunters, anglers and other conservationists for his strong conservation ethic.

"Brad's a good friend of mine, and he's built that friendship with me in part because I trust the guy,'' said Dave Zentner of Duluth, a past national president of the Izaac Walton League. "Brad's a good person, and part of me wants to ask him why he would do this.''

Moore's career in many ways has paralleled that of new DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, and the two are friends. But while Landwehr left the DNR for Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy before returning as DNR chief, Moore left DNR for the top MPCA job, then went to Barr Engineering in government relations before joining PolyMet.

In a news release, Moore said PolyMet "can demonstrate that non-ferrous mining can be done in a way that meets Minnesota's high environmental standards."

DENNIS ANDERSON

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