Public input essential to mine permit process

That spirited debate over the Eagle Mine’s request to expand operations to the Eagle East deposit continued earlier this week.

On Monday, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality gathered more community input during a public hearing at Westwood High School in Ishpeming.

The Eagle East ore deposit is not a new topic, and it’s one that has graced our pages several times in the past.

Similar to other projects that have some degree of impact to the environment, the Eagle Mine’s most recent proposal has been a somewhat contentious one, not a wild digression from the mine’s past experiences.

Since it was proposed years ago by Kennecott, and through the Rio Tinto days, the Eagle Mine site has pitted environmentalists against mining supporters, with both sides highlighting jobs and economic benefits, as well as long-term negative impacts to the surrounding wildlife habitat.

Now though, under ownership of Lundin Mining Corp., the controversial flames don’t seem to burn quite as hot as they used to. But there’s still smoke rising from that fire, and the opposing views continue to state valid points.

As it stands, the DEQ has determined Eagle Mine’s request to begin extraction of the Eagle East ore body meets the state’s requirements, but is continuing to accept comments from the public before making any final decision.

The DEQ will take comments until Oct. 23. They can be mailed to MDEQ Eagle East Permit Amendment, Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals, 1504 W. Washington St., Marquette, 49855.

Comments can also be emailed to DEQ-Mining-Comments@michigan.gov, with “Eagle East Proposed Decision” included in the subject line.

As always, we encourage public participation and underscore the importance of getting involved in processes such as these.

Mining is an important part of our culture, our history and our local economy, and the environment is something we need to always consider for our immediate benefit and for the benefit of future generations.

Hopefully, with your public input, we can strike a good balance.

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