The public has its first chance to share opinions with the Department of Natural Resources on the Gogebic Taconite mine proposal. The DNR is holding a hearing Thursday at Hurley High School, from 10 am until 8 pm. DNR Hydrologist Larry Lynch says DNR officials are hoping for feeback on the specifics of GTac’s plan for bulk sampling and testing of the proposed mine site in Iron and Ashland Counties. The public can also comment on the preapplication for mining filed by GTac - the first step in the permitting process.
“Well the preapplication notice includes a conceptual description of the project. So based on that description it would be possible for people to look at that and give us their observations on what resources may be affected.”
The proposed Iron Mine in the Penokee Hills has sparked controversy. Opponents have expressed concern about a damaged water supply, while proponents point to an urgent need for jobs in the region. Lynch says comments are welcome from all interested parties, whether or not they’re local residents.
“We’ll start out with brief remarks from department staff who will be at the meeting, just kind of laying the background and the instructions for the hearing. And then seven or eight hours into it, we’ll repeat those for people who may not have been there at the start of the hearing.”
Lynch says he’s already received over a hundred comments by mail or email. The public comment period has been open since early August and runs until September 3rd.