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Chippewa tribes want EPA to review iron ore mine before other agencies

ASHLAND, WI (WTAQ) - Six northern Wisconsin Indian tribes have asked the federal EPA to review the proposed Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine, before other agencies have the chance to approve permits.

The six Chippewa tribes say the mine has the potential to hurt local water supplies, and pollute waters that extend to Lake Superior. They want the EPA to use its powers under the Clean Water Act to evaluate the possible environmental effects of the Gogebic mine, before the state DNR and the Army Corps of Engineers consider permits.

The EPA's review could include a veto of decisions by the state and Army Corps over things like dredging and digging close to waterways.

The tribes' request is similar to one made by opponents of a mining project in Alaska, which the EPA had agreed in February to review.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the EPA rarely steps in like this. It agreed to evaluate 29 projects in the past 40 years -- and in 13 of those cases, the agency limited or stopped activities they said had posed environmental threats.

The tribes asking for EPA intervention are the Bad River, Red Cliff, Lac du Flambeau, St. Croix, Mole Lake, and Lac Courte Oreilles.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)