The Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural resources of The Cloquet Valley State Forest and promote responsible enjoyment of this unique treasure.
"That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is tobe loved and respected is an extension of ethics.”Aldo Leopold
Proposed NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange
The US Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invite your comments on the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange proposal. Please provide comments in the space below. If you require more space, please attach additional sheets as needed. To be most useful, comments should discuss specific issues. All comments will be considered in the development of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
From the EPA Received by US Corps of Engineers
February 18, 2010
"Based on our review of the DEIS, EPA has rated the DEIS as Environmentally Unsatisfactory - Inadequate, or EU-3. Environmentally Unsatisfactory (EU) indicates that our review has identified adverse environmental impacts that are of sufficient magnitude that the EPA believes the proposed action must not proceed as proposed. " Read More Here
EPA's Ken Westlake describes the EPA Role in Permitting of Mining
Only a few areas of the Cloquet Valley State Forest have been designated for traditional forest use and are shown above encircled in orange, as natural areas for hunting and fishing. Not all of the areas are public lands, so be sure to check to avoid trespass. Hunters leave their trucks and motorcycles and atvs outside these areas and hunt in the traditional way our parents and their parents did, on foot. These areas are quieter and wildlife experience more natural habitat conditions with less risk of fire and contamination with invasive species. Most fires in Minnesota are caused by humans.
There are over 1500 miles trails and access roads, forest roads, minimum maintenance roads, roadside ditch trails and township roads and hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands open for those needing motorized assistance to hunt and info about those those can be found on the DNR website
If you need information contact the numbers below
Hunters on foot or those who use mobility devices all terrain vehicles to get around may inquire about specific details of interest to them.
Rich Staffon 879-0880 223 Area Wildlife Manger
Martha Minchak, 218 723-4768 224 Asst Area Wildlife Manager
Chris Balzer 879-0880 233 Asst. Area Wildlife Manger
Contact Rich for information or Martha for information about hunting in general and Chris for information about specific trails and areas in the region north of Duluth.
1/09 Unfortunately despite wide local public support to the contrary the St. Louis County Board pressed the DNR for the open unless closed option - the least restrictive system legal in Minnesota. Open unless closed creates serious environmental problems and human use conflicts. Except for a few areas the entire forest is "managed" or "open unless posed closed" creating a situation ripe for abuse by motorized recreation users intent on access by motorized vehicle to every nook and cranny of the entire forest. Only a few areas are either limited or closed and these amount to less than 5% of the total acres of the forest! Too bad St.Louis County refuses to follow Aitkin's lead and go with the limited option which can lead to well planned and maintained trail systems for all types of users including those who do and do not prefer motorized equipment to hunt and fish and enjoy the forest!
http://www.co.aitkin.mn.us/Departments/Land/recreation.html Aitkin County chose the "limited" classification and as such can make much more diverse choices.
MINING Non Ferrous Mining In NE Mn
A foregone conclusion ... Jobs Jobs Jobs?
A threat to our ecosystem and every lake river and stream in MN?
We are smack in this issue in the CVSF and we need to be better informed as a community. Inform yourself, inform your friends, do the analysis you need to do to be sure our state chooses wisely.
Our legislators Bakk and Dill and most of the "Range Coalition" are behind this mining project. You have to be the one to be informed and speak your mind.
You are a resident, a constituent and a person who drinks this water.
This bill was put forth by legislators last session, with the strong support of the Minnesota Environmental Community. MEP member Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest supported those legislators' efforts. The legislation was not permitted to even get a hearing - it was blocked by the Range Deligation. It is unknown if any protection will be sought by any legislators in the coming session.
The range delegation controls many committees in the legislature due to their seniority. This is simply how the legislature works - senior members get to control committees.
In a 2003 Study the correlation between water quality and lake property values was established in a study by two Bemidji State University professors. Prof. Patrick Welle and Prof. Charles Parson examined 1,205 properties sold between 1996 and 2001 on 37 lakes in six regions in northern Minnesota: Aitkin, Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Walker, Park Rapids and Bemidji. They found water clarity was the most significant factor in determining the purchase price in every region. Read the study : Welle Parson Study from BSU
The map above shows the location of Polmet, Duluth, the Cloquet Valley State Forest and the watersheds (surface area water drainage areas) of the St. Louis River and Cloquet River which drain into Lake Superior
Polymet will need to treat the water flowing from its mine for the next 500 plus years using reverse Osmosis. Any mistakes or lack of success in the treatment and waste will flow down the Partridge River, into the St. Louis River and from there into the largest body of fresh water in the nation. Another mine using this same treatment method is having repeated failures to meet regulations. Just one risk is that the waste will carry sulfide which has the capacity to make mercury which is already found in the water easier to harm unborn babies in their mother's womb. All across the North Shore of Lake Superior babies are born with abnormally high levels of mercury already. This could make the problem worse. So much worse that one MPCA expert said it could impact the intelligence of the next generation adversely. This is just one of the risks we are taking on.
There are those who say this presents no risk to Lake Superior, there are those who say this poses no risk to the people of Fond du Lac and Duluth and no risk to the BWCA. The red question mark asks us - is that the truth? Will it be the truth 50 years from now? 100? 200? 500? Is it wise for the people of the United States and the people of Duluth and the people of Minnesota to take this risk with the fresh water now and in the future?
The gold area in the map is a rough image of the Duluth Complex which is a series of intrusions - areas where minerals are found at the surface. The area is laden with sulfide - which when it meets water and air forms sulfuric acid and causes Acid Mine Drainage.
Many corporations are lining up to mine in the northeastern region of Minnesota known as the Arrowhead. Pressure is being put on our nation's and state's agencies by the corporations and elected political leaders to permit these mines. The rewards of the mining will be private - they will go to the mines, their investors and a few hundred workers. Millions of members of the public will be exposed to the waste generated by the mines for more than 500 years. It is important that we make the most thoughtful and careful of assessments of the risk to the water, and the people.
Read the Preliminary Polymet Suplementary Drafts Below :
POLYMET PRELIMINARY SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (PSDEIS) RELEASED TO AGENCIES AND COOPERATING AGENCIES
Bear in mind this document may change- it is a PRELIMINARY DRAFT
The EPA has written a detailed review of the Draft EIS and that may be viewed HERE
You may Request a copy on DVD be sent to you from:
Bill Johnson, Mining Section Lead
Environmental Policy & Review Unit
MDNR Division of Ecological & Water Resources,
Box 25 500 Lafayette Road St. Paul, MN 55155
Lisa Fay, EIS Project Manager
Environmental Review Unit
DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources
500 Lafayette Road, Box 25 St. Paul, MN 55155
Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
180 Fifth Street East, Suite 700
St. Paul, MN 55101-1678
The Boulder Lake Intrusionof the Duluth Complex testing sites
DNR Open-File Project 389: Heavy Mineral Concentrate Assays, St. Louis and Lake Counties
In 1989, the Minnesota DNR identified anomalously high platinum and palladium concentrations in the heavy mineral concentrates of glacial sediment obtained from five-foot auger samples, at locations 20-30 miles east of the known areas of metallic mineral deposits (MnDNR Project 262). The goal of DNR Project 389 was to determine whether these results could be confirmed by shallow surface samples, and determine whether similar anomalies can be tied to specific bedrock targets south of the Project 262 area. A total of 127 glacial sediment samples were collected in Fall 2011; the heavy mineral concentrates (HMC) from 96 of these samples were separated, and analyzed by ALS Minerals for Pt, Pd, and Au concentrations.
In June 2013, the DNR selected 10 of these samples for electron microprobe analysis by McSwiggen & Associates. Polished grain mounts were prepared using the magnetic fraction of the HMC from each sample and examined using backscatter electron imagery. Oxide compositions were determined by point analysis of 25-30 grains within each mount. These analytical results and a compilation of backscatter electron images were provided to the DNR by McSwiggen & Associates on July 1, 2013.
This data and a reference map can be downloaded from the following webpage:
Minnesota Legislature : Making it easier for mining companies to destroy wetlands in the Lake Superior Watershed and allowing them to "mitigate" the loss by "creating" wetlands (that won't be functional for 1000 years if then) in the Red River Valley area - first they did this in the Rainy River area now the Red River. And they want to make it even easier with a banking system that allows mining companies to just pay some money. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF1637&ssn=0&y=2013
US House of Representatives : Strategic Minerals http://www.earthworksaction.org/media/detail/JK_statement_re_strategic_minerals_hearing_201303#.UVG3-hesjTo "The authors and advocates of HR 761 – the mining industry lobby and its champions -- would have you believe that mining companies in the United States are stifled by the current regulatory system. They describe a country where mineral development is stymied by federal rules that divert companies to spend their mineral investment dollars elsewhere. But the mining lobby’s vision of a mining-hostile United States is pure fantasy.
In reality, hardrock mining companies in the United States enjoy subsidies and loopholes that create an extremely friendly regulatory environment for them" Jennifer Krill /Earthworks http://www.earthworksaction.org/files/publications/EW-Krill-Testimony-20130321.pdf
Ken Westlake discusses the role of the EPA in the permitting of Polymet Northmet Project
It's not your Grandpas' kind of mining
see http://www.sosbluewaters.org for more info!
You don't buy an untested car, you avoid medications that have not been approved for use.... do you want to buy an unproven mining method?
Mining has long been a cyclical portion of the Minnesota economy, even in communities where long standing mining has gone on, the communities suffer chronic unemployment. The IRRRB was tasked with diversifying the economy and to date has failed miserably. A new kind of mining is proposed - copper nickel hardrock mining is proposed in the Duluth Complex. This is scarcely diversity in the economy, it is more and worse of the same old thing. Trading the very body of the earth for the workman's wages to haul it off.
The EPA has identified hardrock mining as the top polluting industry in our nation. Sulfide based Copper Nickel Mining ( hardrock/ non ferrous / copper nickel / precious metals/ sulfide ) mining is proposed at the Polymet Northmet Mine - it produces toxic waste throught releasing sulfuric acid into the wetlands and waters. We're told that we need to risk this kind of mining to have "jobs", would we swallow that hook line and sinker if we were told the truth - we need these jobs for corporate profit? What we don't hear about is the cost to individuals and society posed by harm to babies in utero, and of the expense of a superfund site. The rewards of copper nickel mining in Northeastern Minnesota will go to corporations - private interests. The risks are borne by the people and our government - they will be public risks. This is the ugly side of mining.
We are told the waters can be treated. The question is - how long do the waters need to be treated after the mine is closed? No one can say exactly except that it is from a very long time or perhaps in perpetuity. Which is indeed a long, long, long time. Who can guarantee what our economy will be in 25 years, or two hundred?
We can have strong employment and diverse careers available for our families and a a healthy environment - and we should demand both. It may not be possible to have mining and a healthy environment, but mining is NOT the only industry the people of NE Mn are capable of. There's potential to mine for minerals in the Duluth complex but to do so without harming the environment will be too expensive even at the high mineral prices currently in the market - too expensive for the profits the corporations planning to mine want to derive. So they want to use methods that are unproven and cannot be verified as not allowing pollution. There are no "new" methods being proposed and development of them is many years out. They will destroy wetlands, they will harm the watershed of the greatest of the Great Lakes and they will leave the future with the harm.
Protections in Minnesota are described by industry as sufficient to protect the people, however we need to read the fine print on all this. There are existing mines from which toxic waste is leaching now. And even as we are told it is good to mine in our tough and protective system in MN we hear the Governor and our Congressman calling for the authority under which our own MPCA functions, that of the EPA to be limited. This assault is horrifying.
Our lakes rivers and streams are very high in mercury already, we're working to reduce that with many programs at great expense to our citizens already, in particular millions have been spent to clean up the St. Louis River, the precise river that Polymet's toxic brew will spew into. Mercury is made more harmful by the specific kind of pollution leaching from these mines, it becomes bioavailable. It accumulates as small organisims take it in and larger organisms eat them and in humans we know the body preferentially passes it on to babies in the womb, where mercury harms the developing nervous system.
Is fishing in Minnesota going to be popular if the fish is inedible? Will the families who live close to the river - the citizens of Fond du Lac, be able to eat the fish? Is there racial bias in the lack of protection for their food, their fish, their water, their wild rice? Do we care about the effect on our youngest citizens? Common sense tells that we need scientific verification that what companies propose to do will work - we expect this in a car we buy, a medication we take - we ask that the company prove it's ability to perform before we buy.
Under what circumstances would you allow toxins to be put in your water? How much would you need to be paid to risk neurological damage to your unborn child? Your unborn grandchild?
See http://sosbluewaters.org for more information! Learn about the mining proposed in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announces that plans are being developed to hold the state's 33rd sale of metallic minerals exploration and mining leases. The sale is tentatively scheduled for October of 2012. The Metallic Minerals Lease Sale webpage has been updated with the Notice of Intent and a map of Areas Under Consideration. Visit the Metallic Mineral Lease Page for more information.
The land within the yellow border is the Superior National Forest, the land withinin the pink border is the Boundary Waters, the large area is Lynx Critical Habitat.
The DNR has an image of Minnesota's Watershed Basins Here :
The water that flows to Lake Superior comes from a vast watershed, the Arrowhead is only a part of it, but a vast amount of the water flows out through the St. Louis River - right through the bridges that separate Duluth and Superior.
Recently the EPA participated in a meeting with Congressman Cravaak, that meeting was described by the participants in a press conference after the meeting. The EPA did not participate in that meeting. Instead they have released a report on that meeting. It is linked here: REPORT MADE BY KEN WESTLAKE, Region 5 NEPA Enforcement Coordinator of the USEPA TO THE EPA REGARDING THE MEETING ON 3 14 11
EPA's purpose is to ensure that:
all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
all parts of society -- communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments -- have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and
the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
Metallic mineral leases are generally auctioned annually, and until recently, have been quiet affairs that attracted little attention. However, the 2011 sale of metallic mineral leases was held up for over eighteen months because landowners opposed to mineral exploration on their properties protested the lease sales. In June, the State Executive Council comprised of Governor Mark Dayton, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon, State Auditor Rebecca Otto, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and Attorney General Lori Swanson unanimously approved the 2011 lease sale over these objections. Now the delayed 2012 lease auction is moving ahead,tentatively scheduled for October.
The DNR released a map outlining the general vicinity of the parcels to be auctioned. There are three areas. First, there is a Lake County township (T56R8) near Silver Bay that includes Lax Lake and borders Tettegouche State Park.
Photos of Spotted Knapweed along Pequaywan Lake Road
Spotted Knapweed is an invasive species which is spreading rapidly across St. Louis County and the rest of Minnesota. It has been put on the state's primary invasive species list If you see Spotted Knapweed you should report it and you should avoid driving or walking through it. Spotted Knapweed exudes an allelopathic chemical thus inhibiting growth of other plants. It can also cause brain and liver problems for horses and other livestock.
To report Spotted Knapweed download this form and send it in. :