Red Cliff band wants more info on Lake Superior munitions barrelsFor the past three years, the Red Cliff band has tried to go where other environmental groups have failed:
By: By MIKE SIMONSON/Wisconsin Public Radio, The Daily Telegram
For the past three years, the Red Cliff band has tried to go where other environmental groups have failed: To get answers about the nearly 1,500 Department of Defense barrels dumped into Lake Superior in the 1950s and ‘60s. In a statement, the tribe said it plans to hire contractors to look for barrel dumping sites near Duluth.
“As a result, the tribe will now commence a year-long study focusing primarily on sonar mapping of known and suspected sites of munitions dumping by the U.S Army,” said Red Cliff Tribal Planner Tim Funk.
The statement says the barrels need to be assessed especially in the aftermath of a Minnesota Department of Health report released this spring. That report concluded the barrels pose no public health hazard sitting on the bottom of Lake Superior near Duluth.
The Department of Defense is giving another grant to the Red Cliff Band.
“While we respect the efforts of the report’s authors, the tribe seeks to improve upon the frequent speculation contained in the report by collecting additional data using safe and scientifically-valid methods. The MDH report concluded, in part, that the impacts from the barrels are presently “unquantifiable,” that potential risks to the environment were not evaluated, and that the “exact location and condition” of the barrels need to be assessed. The tribe agrees and has designed present and future studies to address these needs.”
The $603,000 grant is by far the largest the tribe has obtained from the Department of Defense in its three-year effort. Nearly 1,500 barrels loaded with munitions scraps were unloaded in at least seven sites. Not all of the sites have been located.