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Tribal Chair Seeks Higher Air Quality Standards Near Reservation To Thwart Mining

Geologist Say Minerals In Penokee Hills Area Need Further Study About Health Impacts

View from Corrigan's Lookout near the Penokee Range. jchapiewsky (CC-BY-SA)

The chairman of a Lake Superior tribe has been looking to set higher air quality standards in and around his reservation as a way to protect northern Wisconsin from the potentially harmful impacts of mining.

Geologists have confirmed a group of minerals exist in the Penokee Hills that need further study to determine potential health impacts.

Bad River tribal chairman Mike Wiggins said the discovery of asbestos-like fibers there and efforts to draw in new mine developers concern him.

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“Our Class I air quality standards are going to work to ensure that all of our future generations and all the people in the northland don’t have to breathe that stuff in,” he said.

Wiggins said the tribe has consulted with local governments about efforts to change its air quality status under the Clean Air Act. He said they’re waiting for a response from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA officials said they haven’t received an official request yet to re-designate the reservation’s air status.

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