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Wisconsin tribes want federal review of mining proposals


UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Six Wisconsin Indian tribes will meet with the federal E-P-A next month, to explain why they want an environmental review of the Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine. The meeting is set for August 16th in Traverse City Michigan. In May the tribes asked the E-P-A to invoke part of the federal Clean Water Act to try and stop the proposed iron ore mine near Mellen in Ashland and Iron counties.

Bad River tribal chairman Mike Wiggins tells Wisconsin Public Radio that the state mining laws don't protect the environment -- and the E-P-A's intervention would let regulators gather information at the site. It could veto decisions from other government agencies on things like dredging, and digging close to waterways. The tribes say the proposed mine would harm water supplies on and off the nearby Bad River reservation.

Supporters say the region desperately needs the jobs the mine would provide, and Governor Scott Walker says he's committed to an environmentally-safe process. The Republican Walker said two weeks ago that the E-P-A would endorse the mine if its bases its decisions on science instead of what he called "plain politics."

Gogebic Taconite says it will keep moving forward with its plans.