Per the Legislative Reference Bureau: The bold-facing is mine. The resources to be compromised are yours.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulates mining for metallic minerals. The laws under which DNR regulates metallic mining apply to mining for ferrous minerals (iron) and mining for nonferrous minerals, such as copper or zinc.
This bill creates new statutes for regulating iron mining and modifies the current laws regulating metallic mining so that they cover only mining for nonferrous minerals.
Under current law, a person who proposes to mine for metallic minerals must obtain a mining permit and any other permit, license, certification, or other authorization (approval) that is required under the environmental and natural resources laws, other than the mining laws, for example, wastewater discharge permits, high capacity well approvals, and water quality certifications for wetlands.
Under the bill, a person who proposes to mine for iron ore must obtain an iron mining permit. The person must obtain some of the approvals under other environmental and natural resources laws, for example, wastewater discharge permits, but the bill provides new approvals in lieu of some current approvals, for example, high capacity well approvals and water quality certifications for wetlands. The standards and procedures for granting, and the requirements related to, an iron mining permit and the other new approvals differ in some respects from the standards, procedures, and requirements under current law, as described below.
Current law requires DNR to promulgate rules specifying standards for metallic mining and for the reclamation of mining sites.
The rules relating to mining must contain standards for grading and stabilization, backfilling, vegetative cover, prevention of pollution resulting from leaching of waste materials, and prevention of significant environmental pollution.
The rules relating to reclamation must contain provisions for disposal of wastes in disposal facilities licensed under the solid waste laws or otherwise in an environmentally sound manner, for management of runoff so as to prevent soil erosion, flooding, and water pollution, and for minimization of disturbance to wetlands. DNR has promulgated rules on these matters.
The bill places standards for iron mining and for the reclamation of iron mining sites in the statutes, rather than requiring rule−making. The standards in the bill are similar in many respects to DNR’s current rules and are less stringent in other respects.