DNR Continues Gathering Information On GTAC Bulk Sampling Proposal


The Department of Natural Resources is waiting for Gogebic Taconite’s (GTAC’s) reply to a letter regarding the company’s bulk sampling proposal.

Meanwhile, the DNR is also sifting through comments regarding the proposal from 500 to 700 emails, letters, and public hearing speakers. Most of the comments are for or against an open pit iron ore mine, but DNR Waste Management Director Ann Coakley says they won’t tally the numbers. She says they’re looking for specific comments on environmental impact, “including thing like deficiencies in Gogebic Taconite’s bulk sampling plan or information regarding resources in a specific area.”

She says they will also consider comments on the Public Trust Doctrine in the state Constitution, which protects navigable waters and could trump the new iron ore mining law.

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Other answers will come from GTAC itself in the awaited reply to an August 13 letter, which asked for more information on things like storm water run-off and air quality.

State Rep. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) says she’s concerned about the impact of what she calls “mini-mining” on the Penokee Hills. But she says GTAC’s conduct during rock sampling will also be telling.

“It is going to show the people of the north exactly what mining could look like and how communities are going to be treated by Gogebic Taconite,” says Bewley.

A final decision on allowing bulk sampling could be another two months away.