ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A judge says the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency did not deviate from most of its procedures when it issued a key water quality permit for the proposed PolyMet mine project.

The ruling by Chief Ramsey County District Court Judge John Guthmann is a victory for supporters of the state’s first copper-nickel mine and the agency. Mine opponents accused the agency of “procedural irregularities” in how it developed and approved the water permit needed to build the $1 billion mine on the Iron Range.

Guthmann’s report now goes to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. It's considering lawsuits filed by environmental groups and the Fond du Lac band.

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