The Fight for Water & Treaty Rights in the Great Lakes

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Public Comment Period Open for U.S. Steel Corp.- Minntac | MN?>

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) proposes to issue Air Emission Permit No. 13700005-006, to US Steel Corp for their facility located at 8819 Old Highway 169, Mountain Iron, St. Louis County, Minnesota.

Public Comment Period Begins: June 8, 2013
Public Comment Period Ends: July 8, 2013

According to the MPCA statement, “the permit action is for construction and operation of the facility. The permit action is a major amendment; therefore, the draft/proposed permit has been placed on public notice. The MPCA is seeking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) concurrent review of this draft/proposed permit and the EPA45-day review period will begin with the 30-day public review period.”

“This Major Amendment permit action authorizes the replacement of the existing main kiln burners with Low Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Main Burners on the facility’s induration lines 4 and 5 (CE 181 with SV 118 and CE 182 with SV 127; respectively). This project will reduce NOx emissions from baseline emission rates. Remaining pollutants will remain at previously permitted rates.”

For the full text of this announcement and information on how to submit your comments, click here.

For more information on this and other MPCA notices visit,

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe Invites Supporters to the Penokees | WI?>

As reported on Earth First! Newswire, and Indian Country News, “The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe tribe has opened a treaty harvest and educational camp on public lands in the Penokee Hills, near the site of the proposed worlds largest open pit iron mine, upstream from the Bad River Reservation.” Read More at,

Wisconsin DNR Approves Gogebic Taconite Exploratory Drilling Application?>

The following notice was taken from the Wisconsin DNR e-mail update, dated May 30, 2013, on Gogebic Taconite’s proposed taconite mining project in Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today approved the exploratory drilling application submitted by Gogebic Taconite, LLC. The DNR issued an exploration license to Gogebic Taconite authorizing the company to drill eight exploratory drill holes. This is the first exploration license issued under the new iron mining law enacted earlier this year.

The company has proposed exploration in a four-mile area located east of Mellen in eastern Ashland and west-central Iron counties. The area of interest is part of the Penokee/Gogebic deposit, a 21-mile long portion of the larger Gogebic Iron Range that stretches east to west from Lake Gogebic, Michigan, to near Lake Namekagon, Wisconsin.

The company had initially submitted an application May 9, but withdrew the initial application and submitted a replacement application May 16 after company representatives decided to reduce the number of bore holes they proposed to drill from 13 to eight.

According to Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials Management director, company officials removed five of the original 13 boreholes from the application to gather additional information needed to address stormwater and potential wetland issues in accordance with applicable regulations. The need for additional information on the five drilling sites was identified during a May 14 site visit by DNR staff to inspect the proposed drilling locations and access roads.

The department had 10 business days to review the application and make a decision. DNR’s decision was based on information contained in the application and supplemental information provided by the company in response to DNR’s request for additional details regarding the exploration proposal. Coakley said Gogebic Taconite may apply for a license to conduct additional exploration borings in the future.

The application, DNR response letter and additional materials are available on the Gogebic Taconite, LLC, potential mining project Web page. You can also sign up for e-mail updates on the project.

Public Comment Period Open on Torch Lake Superfund site | MI?>

The Michigan Department of Community Health has released two Public Health Assessments for the Torch Lake Superfund site and surrounding areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for public comment.

Public Comment Period Begins: April 22, 2013

Public Comment Period Ends: June 24, 2013

MDCH Open House & meeting: May 15, 2013, 4:30pm | Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, 601 Calumet St., Lake Linden, MI

According to the MDCH press release, “The assessments focus on breathing air that has stampsand dust in it, and potential exposure to the chemicals in the stampsands at beaches and by eating fish from the area.”

MDCH will host a multi-agency open house May 15 with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, followed by a public meeting to discuss the reports. The meeting will take place at Lake Linden-Hubbell High School located at 601 Calumet St. in Lake Linden. An open house will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and the public meeting will start at 7 p.m.

MDCH also invites the public to provide comments on the Public Health Assessments. The assessments are online at under “Health Assessments and Related Documents.” Copies are also available at the Lake Linden-Hubbell Public School Library, and the Portage Lake District Library located at 58 Huron St. in Houghton. Responses to all comments will be provided in the final version of the assessments.

To read the full press release visit,–%2c00.html

Public Comment Period Open for Northshore Mining Co. | MN?>

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announces intent to major modify NPDES and SDS Permit for Northshore Mining Co. – Peter Mitchell Facility, Babbitt, Minnesota.
Public Comment Period Begins: May 9, 2013
Public Comment Period Ends: June 10, 2013
The principal activity at this facility is the open pit mining of taconite ore for processing into taconite pellets and is further described in the draft permit. According to the MPCA statement, “The purpose of this major permit modification is to address the replacement of the existing domestic wastewater treatment system. The company is proposing to replace its existing Imhoff tank and trickling filter domestic wastewater treatment systems with a lined three cell stabilization pond system. The domestic system treats domestic wastewater generated from the crusher buildings and does not include any wastewater from mining activities.”
For more information on how to submit your comments click here.
For more information on other MPCA notices visit,

Fundraiser to Support the Penokee Hills & Bad River?>

Friday, May 24, 2013, 6-10pm | Bad River Lodge & Casino Convention Center, Odanah, WI

Admission is $20. Food will be served at 6pm, with musical performances to follow at 7pm. Performers include the Red Cliff Hoop Dancers, Thistle & the Thorns, Skip Jones, Barbara With, and NAMMY winner Wade Fernandez, There will also be a silent auction and door prizes until 10pm.

A camp out at Copper Falls State Park will follow all weekend. Watch for updates at,

The General Mining Act of 1872?>

The General Mining Act of 1872 is a U.S. federal law that governs mining on federal public lands. It gives hard-rock mining precedence over other uses of federal land regardless of the consequences. The law set the price per acre of land claimed at $2.50-$5.00 per acre and hasn’t changed since. Attempts were made to reform the law in 2007 and 2009, but failed. Michael P. Dombeck, a former chief of the Forest Service, explained to a Senate committee in 2008,

“it is nearly impossible to prohibit mining under the current framework of the 1872 mining law, no matter how serious the impacts might be.”

For more information on a law in serious need of reform, check out the New York Times article at the link below.

GTac to Answer Questions at Public Forum | UPDATE?>

Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 6:00pm | Iron County Courthouse, Hurley, WI

The Iron County Board of Supervisors has voted to hold a special meeting at which officials of Gogebic Taconite will answer questions about the proposed Penokee Hills mine in a public meeting. Questions will only be allowed from county board members, not from the public. Questions should be submitted by the public to their representative. The questions will then be submitted to GTac so that “they can be prepared.” A decision about whether public comment will be allowed has not been decided. For more information visit,

Iron County signed an option lease with GTac that provides GTac with several hundred acres of land for approximately $28/acre. The company can transfer its interest to any foreign or domestic entity. It can return the land in any condition. The lessee can use any other county land to access its leased land. The lease cannot be exercised until the land is taken out of Managed Forest Crop Land status by Iron County. It is unlikely that GTac could begin its operation without the Iron County land because this is where the waste rock will be stored.

It’s very important to get a large showing at this meeting. Phone banking will happen at the Penokee Hills Education Project Office, Monday – Thursday from 4-7 pm. Contact Kaeleen Ringberg at, if you have questions.

Mining in the Penokee Hills Uncovered?>

Sunday, April 21, 2013, 5pm | The Burrow, 713 Washington St., Winona, MN

Frank Koehn will present information on the mine proposed for the Penokee Hills, located in the Bad River watershed. At risk are the homelands of the Bad River Ojibwe Nation, the Kakagon Sloughs, the largest wild rice beds on Lake Superior, sturgeon spawning habitat and multiple trout streams. The evening includes a potluck at 5pm, followed by the presentation at 6pm. For more information visit,

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