Monday, December 03, 2012

Superior Watershed Partnership seeks public input at Town Hall Meetings to introduce Community Environmental Monitoring for Eagle Mine

MARQUETTE -- The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) is hosting a series of town hall meetings to introduce the Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) that will conduct an on-going, independent assessment of the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine and report findings to the public.

Under the cooperative agreement announced in October, Rio Tinto is providing the Marquette County Community Foundation with funding ($300,000 annually) to establish and oversee an independent program to conduct environmental monitoring related to mining operations. SWP staff will coordinate and implement the program working with universities, contractors and EPA - approved laboratories to evaluate the Eagle Mine, the Humboldt Mill and transportation routes.

At Rio Tinto's Sept. 26, 2012, community forum in L'Anse, Simon Nish, Rio Tinto director of community communications and external relations, explains the company's agreement with the Superior Watershed Partnership and the Marquette Community Foundation for independent monitoring of the Eagle Mine. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Monitoring will include verification of Rio Tinto's permit requirements for air quality, groundwater, surface water, wildlife, plant life as well as additional monitoring of other potential impacts. The CEMP is also designed to accept third party funding to expand monitoring if needed.

SWP/CEMP Town Hall Meetings are distinct from previous community forums held by Rio Tinto. Members of the public, community organizations, tribes and others are encouraged to attend to learn more about the program, ask questions and provide recommendations for additional monitoring. Anyone who is unable to attend can provide feedback by calling the SWP at (906)228-6095 ext.20 or on-line at cempmonitoring.com.

Additional town hall meetings will be held quarterly in 2013 to report to the public and seek additional input.

The following community forums will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. this week:

Monday, Dec. 3: Humboldt Township Hall -- 244 CR FAF, Champion
Tuesday, Dec. 4: Powell Township School -- 101 Deutsch Ave, Big Bay
Wednesday, Dec. 5: Baraga Best Western Hotel -- 900 US 41, Baraga
Thursday, Dec. 6: Lakeview Arena -- 401 E. Fair Ave, Marquette

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