October 20, 2014

Tiffany wants check into EPA actions

A chief supporter of a mining project in Iron and Ashland counties is calling on his federal colleagues to investigate Environmental Protection Agency actions in Wisconsin.

State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst reacted to a report showing the Odanah wastewater treatment plant has failed to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. The plant serves the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, strong opponents of the proposed Penokee Hills iron ore mine.

Tiffany asked Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to look into the practices of the EPA. A comment period ended Monday on a proposed five year permit extension for the Odanah treatment facility. Tiffany said reports indicated e-coli levels in wastewater discharges from the plant exceeded allowable levels or no report was filed.

“I’m not so critical of the Odana wastewater treatment plant, though it’s clearly out of compliance,” said Tiffany. “My criticism is of the EPA, and that they’re not doing their job.”

Tiffany wants state Congressional representatives to act. During the recent legislative debate over changing laws to enable an open-pit iron ore mine, the tribe said the runoff from the mine would severely damage the Bad River watershed.