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E-M:/ Tilden Mine Expansion Proposed

Enviro-Mich message from "TONY DEFALCO" <DEFALCO@nwf.org>

Another iron ore mine expansion is in the works. The Tilden Mining Company (TMC), an outfit partially owned and operated by Cleveland Cliffs, Inc. (a Cleveland-based company) has applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for a permit to expand its North Rock
Stockpile. Stockpiles are immense piles of waste rock extracted from mine
pits. The expansion will add 190 long tons of waste to an existing
stockpile. The proposed expansion will be 255 acres in size and will destroy
61.7 acres of wetlands and 3,480 lineal feet of intermittent and perennial
stream. The Tilden Mine is located near the Empire Mine (also proposing to
expand) in Marquette County, MI.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other environmental groups have already taken action to contest the permit MDEQ issued for the Empire
expansion. In that case, the permit was issued in violation of numerous
state and federal statutes. That expansion will destroy 79 acres of wetlands
and 4,700 lineal feet of stream with pit expansions, new pit development and waste rock stockpile expansions.

Now, NWF is calling on you to stop the tide of destruction at Tilden. Take
a few minutes today to write a letter to MDEQ calling on them to carefully
evaluate this permit application and ensure that Michigan's natural
resources obtain the level of protection they are ensured under state and
federal statutes. SEND A LETTER BY Thursday, November 16 to: Land and Water Management Division, MDEQ, 184 U.S. 41 East, Negaunee, Michigan 49866. To review the permit application call MDEQ at (906) 475-2040 for a copy.

Feel free to use the points below in your letter:

The obliteration of streams is not approvable under Michigan law.

Recent reports have indicated that to compensate for stream destruction, 
the mine is willing to pay between $8 and $10 per foot of lineal stream 
destroyed. That's right, folks, between eight and ten bucks a foot.  That's what a stream in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is worth. Michigan's streams are protected by law and not for sale at such a price.

TMC proposes to mitigate wetlands losses by adding 108 acres of wetlands
to its Republic Wetlands Preserve in Republic Township. That's close to a
2:1 ratio, but as many are aware, creating wetlands that have the same
properties and values of natural wetlands is a dicey prospect.

None of the alternatives considered in TMC's permit application consider
the notion of not destroying wetlands and streams by changing to footprint
of the stockpile, for example. The alternatives focus solely on mining the
maximum amount of ore possible and different locations for stockpiles.

The waste rock stockpile expansion will eradicate a biathlon ski trail
built by community organizations in the area. This is only the second
Olympic-certified course in the U.S.

MDEQ should include as a condition of any permit that a reclamation plan
approved by the community be included.

Tony DeFalco
Lake Superior Project Organizer
National Wildlife Federation
506 E. Liberty Street, 2nd Floor
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 769-3351
Fax (734) 769-1449

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