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GTAC holds one-on-one meetings with Northern Wisconsin residents

Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) held one-on-one meetings with northern Wisconsin residents on Monday to hear input on its proposed mine in the Penokee Hills.

GTAC spokesman Bob Seitz says it heard from people both for and against the mine during sessions in Mercer, Hurley, Iron Belt, Mellen and Ashland.

"They have concerns about, how do we find out about what's going to happen with the groundwater [and] air," says Seitz. "Other folks just want to hear what the process is. Other folks are concerned with this getting done as quickly as it can with proving the environmental facts, but then also being able to get the jobs in here."

Hurley couple Michael and Maureen Matusewic sat down in Ashland with Seitz, GTAC President Bill Williams and GTAC Engineer Tim Myers to go over their concerns about water.

"My main concern is once you start digging ... that what you're doing here is going to end up in Tyler Forks and Lake Superior," said Maureen Matusewic.

"We'll have a storm water permit, and we have to meet the requirements of the storm water permit for this area when we do the disturbance," said Myers.

The Matusewics aren't so sure.

"These guys are like, 'Well, that's the law. We're not going to do that'," says Maureen.

"Every bump in the road, they go and run down to [Sen. Tom] Tiffany and have the legislation changed to fit their needs," says Michael.

Tiffany has sponsored legislation that has streamlined and removed some of the environmental regulations on iron mining.

GTAC's Seitz says they're making decisions based on not only the law, but science and fact. Seitz says the mining company is studying the storm water permit GTAC will need from the state in order to move forward with bulk sampling at the mine site. Seitz says that process with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is ongoing.

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