Wisconsin’s Green Fire Calls for Increased Scrutiny of Metallic Mining Rules

WI Green Fire, October 27, 2020

Ariel view of the Flambeau Mine in Lady Smith when it was in operation.
Ariel view of the Flambeau Mine in Lady Smith when it was in operation.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire, along with 9 other environmental groups, submitted comments to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), urging the Department to modify draft rules related to sulfide metallic mining. A 2017 bill passed by the state legislature made wholesale changes to mining laws and prompted the current agency rulemaking process. While the 2017 law constrains WDNR’s discretion in the rulemaking process, the groups offered numerous comments to bring additional clarity to the draft rules and to strengthen environmental protections.

Tom Jerow, Wisconsin Green Fire’s lead on mining issues participated in the multi-organizational review and commentary. “These rules provide the framework for protecting Wisconsin’s environment from potential mining operations,” Jerow said “Water resources are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to contamination from sulfide mining.”

The WDNR is expected to review all comments received during the public comment period and to revise the draft rules based on those comments over the next two months. The agency will then submit the proposed final rules to the Natural Resources Board and the state legislature for approval. Both must approve the final rules by February 27, 2021, for them to take effect. For more information about the rules and comments, you can contact Tom.

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