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Mining & Local Communities | WI?>

Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 7pm | Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Sentry Rm, Northland College, 1411 Ellis Ave., Ashland, WI

Speakers: Roy Smith and Bob Tammen

In this panel presentation, Roy Smith, director of workforce development for the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board located in Eveleth, Minn., will present “Developing a Mining Workforce: The Economic Benefits of Mining Communities.”

Bob Tammen, former mineral company employee on Minnesota Mesabi Iron Range and community activist will present “Environmental Impacts in Mining Communities.” Tammen is a retired electrician and a resident of Soudan, Minn., a former mining town. He lives near a porposed copper mine site on the Minnesota Iron Range.

This presentation is part of the institutes 2014 Perspectives on Mining Series. The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute works with Northland College and regional partners to promote stewardship, identify opportunities, deliver educational programs, and facilitate solutions that address environmental issues throughout the North Country.

For more information visit the institute’s website, www.northland.edu/sigurd-olson-environmental-institute-overview.htm

or contact Jean Ayers at, jayers@northland.edu

EPA Reverses Itself on Mesabi Nugget Variance?>

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is voluntarily vacating it’s decision to approve a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency variance for the Mesabi Nugget taconite facility.

“The MPCA had asked EPA officials to make an exception for Mesabi Nugget and allow the company to exceed water quality standards for four pollutants, including sulfate. The EPA approved that variance, but two environmental groups and two tribes said the EPA was wrong to issue the variance and sued the agency.”

To read the full story by Elizabeth Dunbar, click here.

Minnesota’s Mining Not an Economic Panacea?>

“Mining could be a huge economic boost for the state, say proponents of an iron ore mine in northwestern Wisconsin. But it hasn’t been a cure-all for the big iron ranges of Minnesota and Michigan.” Read the full article by Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel writer, Lee Bergquist here.

Mine Dewatering and Groundwater Levels?>

Mine Dewatering and Groundwater Levels

INFOgraphic | How mine dewatering affects groundwater levels. | Groundwater flows from aquifers into the ore pit, reducing the quantity of water available to local springs and wells. The size of the area affected by this drawing off of the groundwater is determined by the area’s geology and hydrology.

Public Hearing on GTac Bulk Sampling Activity | WI?>

Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 10am-8pm | Hurley High School, 5503 W. Range View Drive, Hurley, WI

Contact(s): Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials director – 608-516-2492.

The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a public informational hearing August 15 on the proposed bulk sampling activity and the preapplication notice to mine at Gogebic Taconite’s potential mining project near Mellen, Wisconsin. To read the complete WDNR statement click here.

The hearing will be a public informational hearing, where individuals can provide oral or written comments as well as learn about the proposed bulk sampling activity and the preapplication description of the potential mine project. Any member of the public may submit written comments on the proposed bulk sampling activity or the preapplication description of the potential mining project through September 3, 2013.

Agency staff will provide a brief summary of the available information about the bulk sampling and DNR approvals needed by Gogebic Taconite. These informational presentations will be at 10 am and 5 pm. The department will also provide a summary of the steps that must be followed prior to the submission of a mining application for the project.

To read the DNR response to GTac’s initial bulk sampling application, click here.

To read GTac’s response to the DNR’s comments on their application, click here.

To read additional documents, or to sign up for email alerts on this project, click here.

Public Comment Period Open on GTac Bulk Sampling Activity | WI?>

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced the opening of a public comment period on the proposed bulk sampling activity and the preapplication notice to mine at Gogebic Taconite’s potential mining project near Mellen, Wisconsin.

Public Comment Period Begins: Aug. 1, 2013

Public Comment Period Ends: Sept. 3, 2013

Any member of the public may submit written comments on the proposed bulk sampling activity or the preapplication description of the potential mining project. To read the complete WDNR statement click here.

Comments may be submitted via mail to: Larry Lynch, DNR, 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53707

or by e-mail to: DNRWAMINING-GOGEBICTACONITE@Wisconsin.gov.

To read the DNR response to GTac’s initial bulk sampling application, click here.

To read GTac’s response to the DNR’s comments on their application, click here.

To read additional documents, or to sign up for email alerts on this project, click here.

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

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announces their receipt of an application for a permit to continue the operation of a waste tire storage area and a land treatment area for petroleum contaminated solids/sludge and to maintain the closed industrial solid waste landfill.

Public Comment Period Begins: July 30, 2013

Public Comment Period Ends: August 29, 2013

U.S. Steel, Minnesota Ore Operations is a taconite plant on Minnesota’s Iron Range. It produces high-grade iron ore pellets for use at integrated steel mills. Approximately 70% of the ore processed is sent to the tailings basin for impoundment. The U.S. Steel, Minnesota Ore Operations has a 7,900 acre tailings basin that is divided into smaller cells that range in size from 100 to 400 acres. The closed industrial solid waste landfill and the original solids/sludge land treatment area are located in Cell A-2 of the 7,900 acre tailings basin located north of the taconite processing plant. A new 6 acre land treatment area will be located on top of an overburden stockpile located in the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 6, Township 58N, Range 18W. Waste tires are generated by mining operations and are stored on site until enough are generated to send them off-site for recycling. The waste tire storage area is located on the southeast corner of the Central Shop in the area of the taconite processing plant.

The industrial solid waste disposal area is approximately 10 acres in size and is closed. Construction of the final cover system for the landfill was completed in 2012. No additional acceptance or disposal of industrial solid waste or demolition debris is permitted in this area. The landfill was closed with approximately 490,039 cubic yards of waste and coarse tailings in place. U.S. Steel–Minntac will be responsible for maintaining the final cover system of the landfill.

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, www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/public-notices/list.html

WaterLegacy Files Lawsuit over Mesabi Nugget Variance?>

Re-Posted from Waterlegacy.org. Read the full post here.

06.03.13 |  WaterLegacy, represented by Paula Maccabee, filed suit in Minnesota Federal District Court asking the Court to overturn as “arbitrary and capricious” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to allow the Mesabi Nugget iron plant a “variance” from complying with water quality standards.

Similar lawsuits were filed by the Fond du Lac and Grand Portage Bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa.

The EPA variance would allow Mesabi Nugget to violate water quality standards for total dissolved salts, bicarbonates, hardness and ionic conductivity, although these pollutants can harm the aquatic food chain and natural stands of wild rice. Both Mesabi Nugget and regulating agencies agree that water pollution treatment is feasible and commercially available to provide compliance with water quality standards.

In explaining the litigation to news reporters, WaterLegacy explained, “What we are really saying is that Minnesota water quality standards apply to everyone, including the mining industry, and that the standards should be applied and enforced rather than making exceptions for the convenience of the industry.” Read more about the case on Minnesota Public Radio’s web site.

Learn more by reading WaterLegacy’s Complaint.

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, www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/public-notices/list.html

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,

www.earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/lac-courte-oreilles-ojibwe-tribe-invites-supporters-to-join-occupation-of-proposed-mine-site-in-wisconsin/

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