October 20, 2013 by Wendy Thiede
To the editors of the Ironwood Daily Globe,
Attached is a letter to the editor I have written in response to the article in Saturday’s paper headlined “GTac still waiting to hear from WDNR.” I personally attended and recorded the meeting of the Iron County Mining Impact Committee on September 19th in Hurley that I reference in my letter. The quotes from Tim Myers are exactly transcribed from my recording. The quotes from Ann Coakley are transcribed from a recording of the Ashland County Mining Impact committee meeting of Wed., Oct. 16th. Other quotations have been taken directly from Saturday’s Globe article and from the State Journal article of Oct. 9th.
I would like you to publish my letter as soon as possible. Please call me with questions, xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Who is waiting for whom?
In Saturday’s Ironwood Globe, Bill Williams, president of Gogebic Taconite, implied that GTac submitted their final bulk sampling plan to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, but the DNR is taking too long to respond, thus causing the sampling activities to be postponed indefinitely. Tim Myers of GTac and Ann Coakley, Director, Bureau of Materials and Waste Management of WDNR, disagree.
In his report to the Iron County Mining Impact Committee September 19th, Myers said that regarding the bulk sampling plan submitted June 17th, WDNR is waiting for the storm water permit application and other information requested in a letter August 13th. Myers said, “The first thing we all talk about is bulk sampling . . . The last letter we received from the DNR was August 13th. They’re waiting on me, but part of what I am doing is getting storm water information. . . . From the letter we received on Aug. 13th we were told by the DNR that a storm water permit is required.”
In agreement with Myers’, Coakley stated on Wednesday, Oct. 16th at the Ashland County Mining Impact Committee meeting that WDNR is waiting for GTac’s revised bulk sampling plan containing answers and descriptions they need before making a decision. “The ball is in GTac’s court,” Coakley said. “We expect that [revised plan] in the coming month or so.” On Oct. 9th. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that “Coakley said the company has indicated that it will file a final bulk sampling plan within weeks, meaning that operation wouldn’t start until January at the earliest.”
Yet, on Saturday, Oct 19th, The Globe reported that “Gogebic Taconite is still waiting to hear word from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before the company can begin bulk sampling at the proposed iron mine site near Upson, Wis.” Bill Williams claims the “DNR has given no inclination as to when they will respond.” The implication is that WDNR is delaying the process, when actually, it is GTac that has not yet submitted the required information to WDNR.
This contradiction exemplifies the continued deception by GTac, deception this time perhaps because they feel that even after their mining law rewrite, the permitting process is still too cumbersome and complications like storm water and asbestos should be disregarded. Brace yourself for further proposals reducing environmental protection.