EPA Intervenes in Sulfide Mining Permit Process

On Monday, the National Wildlife Federation, issued a press release stating that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has notified Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company that at least one federal permit will be needed before the company can open its proposed sulfide mine near Marquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Citing concerns over the safety of drinking water in the region, the EPA sent a letter to Kennecott asking the company to submit previously requested information about a treated water filtration system proposed by Kennecott. That system–a series of pipes buried underground that allows treated water to trickle back into the ground–would impact the entire aquifer. The EPA has determined that a permit is required to ensure that the system would not “endanger an underground source of drinking water” while also stating that once the information is received from Kennecott, it will “make a determination about other potential requirements.”

Michelle Halley, an attorney with the National Wildlife Federation, is cited in the press release as believing that the involvement of the EPA will further stall the approval of the mine. The EPA would likely then hold a public comment period before making a decision. Permitting thus far has been handled by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), who recently announced that they were looking at making their decision by May of this year. With federal permits being more rigorous than state-level permits, it is possible that Kennecott will have to perform additional research into the environmental impact of the mine.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org