Disastrous chemical pollution striking West Virginia river drinking water should give serious pause to those pushing for the excavation of an open-pit iron ore mine in the Bad River watershed in Northern Wisconsin.
The online Rice Lake newspaper Chronotype succintly lays out the concerns contained in an internal DNR report leaked last week and blasted by mine supporters:
• The presence of pyrites and other sulfides in the region that could produce acid runoff.
• Concerns about mercury pollution from the taconite plant that Gogebic is planning for the site.
• The presence of asbestos-like fibers in some of the minerals in the region of the mine.
• The possibility that such a deep mine would create a hydraulic sink that could lower groundwater tables and affect local wetlands, streams and lakes.
• The need for years of continuous monitoring of surface and groundwater resources based on studies that show some of the problems with waste rock only begin to show up after 14 years of exposure.
• Monitoring also will have to include tissue studies of fish and other aquatic life, bird eggs and sediments.