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Groups Ask Engler to Halt Great Lakes Diversion Plan



The following release was sent out to Great Lakes region media Monday.

For text of letter to Engler, and other useful information on the Crandon
mine, check out our Web site at 
http://www.greatlakes.nwf.org/hot.htm

                       NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
                               PRESS RELEASE

FOR RELEASE:                                                       CONTACT:
February 10, 1997                          Tim Eder (NWF) -- (313) 769-3351
                 Rick Jameson (MUCC Executive Director) -- (517) 371-1041
                        William Buckley (WWF President) -- (715) 384-2214
                                                                         

                                     
Conservation Groups Urge 
Gov. John Engler To Halt 
Wisconsin Water Diversion
That Threatens Great Lakes
                                    

ANN ARBOR, FEB. 10:  A coalition of conservation groups
is asking Michigan Gov. John Engler to block a plan to
divert billions of gallons of Great Lakes water to the
Mississippi River from a proposed Wisconsin mine.

"The precedent this proposal would set poses a serious
threat to the long-term ability of the Great Lakes
region to protect its precious asset   the Great
Lakes," said Mark Van Putten, President of the National
Wildlife Federation (NWF).

NWF, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation appealed to Engler to use
his authority under the Water Resources Development Act
to bar the diversion. The 1986 federal law prohibits
any new diversion of Great Lakes water for use outside
the Great Lakes basin unless it is approved by the
Governor of each of the Great Lakes States

The Crandon Mining Company proposes to divert up to 1.7
million gallons per day of water from a new mine near
the Wolf River in the Lake Michigan watershed. The
water would be pumped through a 38-mile pipe and
discharged into the Wisconsin River, which is tributary
to the Mississippi River. The source of this water is
groundwater which will flow into the mine. Over the
life of the mine, an estimated 10 billion gallons of
water would be diverted from the Great Lakes watershed.
The mining company claims this diversion is necessary,
instead of dumping the water into the Wolf River,
because it is unable to meet the anti-pollution
requirements to protect water quality of the Wolf
River.

The proposal is under review by the state of Wisconsin,
which claims the Water Resources Development Act does
not apply because the water to be diverted is coming
from the ground, instead of directly from the Great
Lakes or adjacent rivers. The proposal also is being
reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which must
approve wetlands permits before the mine can operate.
Many environmental groups and Native Americans oppose
the mine and the diversion.

Conservationists told Engler in their Feb. 7, 1996
letter: "Groundwater flow is vital to the proper
functioning of Great Lakes and their tributaries. If
public or private entities are allowed to drill wells
and remove groundwater from the basin, without approval
as required under the Water Resources Development Act,
then our ability to protect the Great Lakes from future
diversions is in jeopardy."

The nation's largest member-supported conservation
group, the National Wildlife Federation unites people
from all walks of life to protect nature, wildlife and
the world we all share. NWF has educated and supported
families in their efforts to uphold America's
conservation tradition since 1936. The Michigan United
Conservation Clubs, the largest non-profit statewide
conservation organization in the U.S. with more than
120,000 members, is devoted to the protection and
enhancement of Michigan's natural resources through
education and the promotion of quality outdoor
recreation. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is a
coalition dedicated to the conservation of Wisconsin's
natural heritage.

                                    ###