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Army Corps of Engineers Won't Hasten Mining Review for Wisconsin DNR


DNR wanted to work jointly with the Corps on an Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed iron mine in northern Wisconsin, but the Corps cannot.

According to a letter the Corps sent to DNR leaders, the federal and state environmental review processes differ substantially. The federal agency had warned of that possibility, before Wisconsin streamlined its mining requirements in 2013. The new state rules require the DNR to complete its environmental review within one year.

In addition to needing more time and using different criteria for determining the environmental impact of a project, the Corps says it cannot commence the process before someone submits a mining application. The interested company in this case, Gogebic Taconite, has not yet applied.

The proposed open-pit mine needs both federal and state permission.

Because each will do its own environmental assessment, the process of reaching a final decision on a mine, will likely take years longer than some state leaders had wanted.