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DNR not worried about regulatory resources for proposed iron ore mine


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state DNR is shrugging off concerns that it might not have the resources to regulate Gogebic Taconite’s proposed iron ore mine in far northern Wisconsin.

The state Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday on new state regulations that would make it easier and faster for the company to open the new mine.

Kimberlee Wright, who heads the Midwest Environmental Advocates’ law firm in Madison, is worried that the DNR won’t have the staff or the resources to regulate the project. She said the agency has a growing backlog of other wastewater permits that are waiting for approvals – something the agency blames on employee retirements and a lack of replacements.

Wright also says the DNR will end up spending more than a $2 million limit set by the Legislature to do a full environmental review of the project.

The DNR’s Ann Coakley says her agency can always seek more money in the future for its environmental review. And she vowed that the DNR will be aggressive in regulating the project.

Coakley said mining is a priority in Wisconsin, and the DNR will do what it must to get the job done.