MADISON (AP) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it lacks the authority to regulate any potential asbestos-like material that might surface during exploratory excavations for a new iron mine near Mellen.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Thursday that asbestos-like material has been found on the site but Kristin Hart, a section chief in the DNR’s air management program, said state law allows the agency to regulate hazardous materials only if they come out of smoke stacks. Federal agencies have oversight over asbestos mines but it’s unclear which laws might apply to the iron mine.
Gogebic Taconite is trying to secure a storm water permit from the DNR to remove 4,000 tons of rock for sampling. DNR officials say they’ll likely grant the permit.