October 31, 2014

Mine hearing in Hurley this week

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is expecting to a draw crowd, at this week’s hearing on a proposed open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.

The hearing – on Gogebic Taconite’s proposed bulk sampling activity and the pre-application notice to mine the site – is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Hurley High School. Larry Lynch, a hydrogeologist with the DNR, said that location was chosen because they’re expecting a lot of interest. “We think we’ll have several hundred people, and that’s why picked the high school, which was the largest venue we could find,” Lynch said.

This will be an informational hearing, with DNR staff making presentation, and the public have an opportunity to provide written or oral comment. Lynch said the amount of time allocated to each speaker won’t be determined until the day of the hearing. “It really will be dependent on the number of people who show up, and the number of people who indicate they want to make a statement,” he said. Typically, such hearings allow three minutes for each individual comment.

The proposed mine has been hugely controversial. Gogebic has hired out-of-state security to protect the mine site, after vandalism, and confrontations between protesters and Gogebis staff at the mine site near Mellen.

The public can view additional information on-line at the Gogebic mining project page of the DNR website. A 30-day public comment period on the proposed bulk sampling activity and pre-application description ends September 3rd.