Leech Lake tribe backed by Minnesota Court of Appeals on proposed Iron Range wood mill


February 7, 2023

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe resource management employees and a U.S. Forest Service botanist work in the Chippewa National Forest in July searching for the fungus-like goblin fern. The band won an appeal Monday for further environmental review of a proposed wood mill near its northern Minnesota reservation.

DULUTH - A planned $440 million Iron Range wood products plant must undergo further environmental study before it can be built, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The state court reversed a Cohasset, Minn., City Council decision in March to forgo an in-depth environmental impact statement (EIS) for a wood mill proposed by North Carolina-based Huber Engineered Woods, and ordered it to reconsider the project's effects on wetlands before issuing a new decision.

The Minnesota Legislature exempted Huber from having to complete a lengthier EIS typically required for projects of its size, and the City Council's decision kept that exemption intact. The decisions drew complaints from a nearby tribe, a rival mill, environmentalists and business groups. A shorter study was done instead.



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