Photo: Royalbroil / Wiki Commons
Among the three Great Lake states, Wisconsin’s mining law is by far the strictest and has essentially halted sulfide ore mining in the state. In 1998, Wisconsin approved a law that requires any mining company seeking a permit for metallic sulfide mining to prove that they have operated a similar mine for 10 years without polluting surface or groundwater either from the mine or from the tailings. The company must also show that they closed the mine and remediated the site and, for at least 10 years after, the water above and below ground remained unpolluted. The law has been slightly weakened by the state’s Department of Natural Resources that has not written administrative rules to apply the law.
Continue reading Midwest Mining Rush Threatens Water: Part V: Wisconsin, the “Prove It First” State
Photo: Flickr / save the wild up
Several groups have banded together to file a lawsuit that finds fault with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s permitting process. The National Wildlife Federation, Huron Mountain Club, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve argue that the permitting process did not adhere to the state’s 2004 non-ferrous mining law and claims that decision making was driven by politics rather than science. There was no independent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and no one – not even Kennecott – provided a hydrological study for a mine that will be dug 1,000 feet beneath the Salmon Trout River – which is mostly fed by groundwater and is just a handful of miles from Lake Superior. Continue reading Midwest Mining Rush Threatens Water: Part IV: Challenging the Mine Permitting Process
A dump truck driving along the Rio Tinto Kennecott Mine in Provo, UT. Photo: Phil Scoville
The disaster at Massey’s West Virginia Upper Big Branch mine is an example of unenforced regulations. Reports now show that safety inspectors were not given access to the mines that took the lives of 29 miners when it collapsed last April. Testimony has also revealed that workers were expected to take risks and evade inspections.
Continue reading Midwest Mining Rush Threatens Water: Part II: Tourism vs. Mining