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E-M:/ New Report Details Failure of Crandon Mine Environmental Review

Enviro-Mich message from amccombs@mail.wiscnet.net (A. I. McCombs)

For subscribers to enviro-mich who follow the Crandon Mine issue

New Report Details Failure of Crandon Mine Environmental Review, Exposes
Exxon-DNR Report as "A Promotional Vehicle"

Date: January 16, 1998
From: Sierra Club Midwest <midwest.field-office@sierraclub.org>
For more information contact: Peter Browne/Carl Zichella 608-257-4994

Forwarded by Kira Henschel <goblinfern@aol.com>

   -->TAKE ACTION!<--
   January 20 is Global Email/Call-in day for Wisconsin's sulfide Mining
   Moratorium. See http://www.earthwins.com/sb3a.html

For Immediate Release

Madison, WI - An analysis released today of the Crandon Mining Company
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is sharply critical of the science the
Exxon Corp. subsidiary is using and indicates that damage from the mine may
be substantially greater than previously thought. The Sierra Club and
Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), who commissioned the report by
prominent hydrogeologist Charles Norris, said the results showed that the
mining moratorium bill as passed by the State Senate is needed to protect
Wisconsin drinking water, lakes and rivers.

Norris, a respected hydro-geologist who has worked for oil companies,
states and the University of Illinois in his more than 25 year career, had
withering criticism for the EIR.

"While one expects the EIR to reflect the bias of the Crandon Mining
Company in favor of a project, its should be a legitimate attempt to assess
the likely impacts of the project. It is a promotional vehicle that shuns
critical investigation, obfuscates the assessment of data that is
available, and stretches credulity in its conclusions," Norris said.

Carl Zichella, Midwest Regional Director for the Sierra Club, said that
Norris's report showed the Crandon project was even worse than opponents
had thought and that the report was another good reason for the mining
moratorium bill, without any amendments.

"This report shows that Exxon is cooking the books and the DNR is not being
as tough on them as they should be. Exxon's analysis is lean on fact and
long on speculation. According to them, no matter what they do nothing bad
will happen to our drinking water, lakes, rivers and wetlands. It's

Norris's report said that both the science and the assumptions being made
about the potential impacts of the mine were inadequate or "simply wrong"
in the EIR. He detailed a number of impacts that would likely be far
greater either Exxon and Rio Algom (Crandon Mining Company's owners) or the
DNR were so far willing to admit. To wit

*More ground water moves through the area and through the ore than is
currently acknowledged.

*More ground water than predicted will have to be pumped.

*More acid mine drainage than predicted will occur as a result of mining

*More water than predicted will contact the abandoned mine and waste
disposal areas after reclamation.

*Ground water and surface water will be permanently adversely impacted by
the project.

Albert Ettinger, staff attorney for the Chicago-based Environmental Las and
Policy Center (ELPC) said the Norris report tore gaping holes in the
company's analysis and the DNR's review.

"Crandon Mining Company's EIR is a disorganized, self-contradictory mess.
Necessary data has not and is apparently not yet being collected. Almost no
weather data has been collected for example. In order to expedite the
review, information that takes time to collect, like how the relation
between stream flow and groundwater levels varies over time, has not been
collected. DNR seems reluctant to require CMC to collect time-dependent
data. A reasonable person might say that a 20 year moratorium is just what
is needed, and would not be unfair to the company, given it has had 20
years to collect the proper site data but has failed to do so," Ettinger

John Muir Chapter Legislative Director, Caryl Terrell, called on
representatives to review the report for themselves and to support SB3, the
mining moratorium bill without any weakening amendments.

"We can't trust Exxon and Rio Algom to do the necessary work without being
forced to and the pressure on the DNR to sign off on a permit is enormous.
We can't trust an agency stripped of its independence to be as tough on
them as we need them to be. We need a strong moratorium bill, and we need
it now.' Terrell said.

Terrell said that the governor and Assembly leaders may try to sabotage the
moratorium bill by trying to change it slightly. "A vote for an amendment
is a vote to kill the bill because the Senate is unlikely to take
amendments up this year. We'll be watching to see who cares about
Wisconsin's families or who cares about Exxon's profits." Terrell said.

The text of Dr. Norris's report, "Review and Preliminary Assessment of the
Permit Application Materials for a Proposed Zinc-and Copper-Sulfide Mine
near Crandon, Wisconsin," may be viewed at


"People have the power to redeem the work of fools."
Patti Smith

For Mother Earth. . .
For Humanity. . .

A. I. McCombs
P.O. Box 573
Shawano, WI  54166
Ph: 715-524-5998
FAX (Phone first): 715-524-9958

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