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Iron County Works On Mining Ordinance

Iron County has released a second draft of its metallic mining ordinance.

It outlines the process a mining company would need to follow for county approval, and includes a host of regulations and protections. 

Zoning Administrator Tom Bergman says the purpose of a local ordinance is to be more specific than state rules can be. For example, he says the draft includes a requirement that a mining company monitor and test nearby private wells.

“Because you really want to make sure that a mine isn’t going to have a negative impact on individuals’ wells and things like that. So that’s something that the county will look at specifically for its communities that wouldn’t necessarily be fully analyzed through a state process.”

Current Iron County zoning laws don’t include any provisions for metallic mining.

A formal public hearing on the ordinance draft will come in 2015. 

Bergman explains, a local agreement between the company and county board could provide for exceptions to some of the rules in the ordinance.               

“It is in some ways a negotiation with the developer – now with that said, it does require that in the decision making process that those criteria are followed as closely as possible.”

Gogebic Taconite has reportedly had input on the ordinance development.

Bergman says the company’s input is treated with the same weight as citizens’. 

Bergman and the attorney working to develop the ordinance will be answering questions next week at an Iron County citizens forum on the topic.  That’s December 16th at 6:30 pm in the Oma Town Hall.   

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