[Updated] Several petitioners from the Penokee Hills region have filed a lawsuit in Iron County Circuit Court against the DNR over alleged environmental damage they say was caused by recent rock sample excavations at GTac iron mine rock sampling sites.
The petitioners, representing a wide swath of interests, allege that the recent removal by the mining company of more than 2,000 tons of rocks for sampling allowed by the DNR failed to prevent environmental damage and that immediate repairs and preventative actions are needed.
The DNR decided no permit was needed because there would be no impact on the environment since GTAC removed the rock while the ground was still frozen. GTAC also used existing roads to remove the minerals.
But the lawsuit claims that rocks and soil were disturbed and trees cut down which will lead to run-off during the spring snow melt. [Attorney Dennis] Grzezinski says with warming weather, there is urgency to act on this right away.
“Unless steps are taken soon to prevent that stuff from washing its way down the ridges, it’s going to get into the watershed.”
The DNR’s Ann Coakley says they can’t comment on the lawsuit but they are reviewing it.
The suit is Iron County Circuit Court file # 14CV14.