Responses to Inquiries from Larry Lynch


Lynch, Lawrence J - DN

Dec 19 (6 days ago) to meAnnCathy

Frank – See below for responses to your questions.  Feel free to contact me if you have follow-up questions.  Larry

Larry Lynch, P.G., Hydrogeologist 

Bureau of Waste & Materials Management 
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

phone:      (608) 267-7553 

fax:            (608) 267-2768 

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From: Frank Koehn [

Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 1:45 PM
To: Lynch, Lawrence J - DNR
Cc: Coakley, Ann M - DNR; Stepp, Cathy L - DNR
Subject: Bulk Sampling questions




I have questions re: the Bulk Sampling Permit:


1. Is this correct - I do not think you (or Ann Coakley) are actually  in a position to deny or issue the permit for GTac to begin Bulk Sampling.It is my understanding you are required to make certain all the permit questions and and application procedures have been met. The  actual decision to will be made by Cathy Stepp. Is this correct?  Actually permit decisions will be made by staff in the specific programs charged with implementation of a given program.  For instance the decision whether to issue coverage under the storm water program will be issued by the storm water staff person assigned to the project. 


2. As of today's date the actual bulk sample permit has not been issued. Is this an accurate statement.The new iron mining law does not provide for issuance of a specific bulk sampling permit.  Rather, bulk sampling is regulated through other regulatory programs.  In the case of Gogebic Taconite’s proposal, we have recently informed the company that their bulk sampling activity will require coverage under a storm water permit and that prior to starting bulk sampling, they will need to submit a claim of exemption under the air regulations, a cutting plan for lands in the Managed Forest Land program and a notification to Iron County in regard to cutting on MFL lands.


3. I have been trying to find the list of questions and concerns that came from the public comment period that were included in the Permit application that requires action or comment from GTac. I have not been successful. Might you let me know where I can find these questions and answers?  A compilation of public comments and responses to those comments was not prepared following the hearing in August.  Staff reviewed the comments and took them into consideration as we reviewed the company’s plans and submittals.


4. The sites with asbestos like fibers may have been removed from GTac's permit request. Is this factual?  Yes, the two westernmost sites are no longer part of the proposed bulk sampling activity. Grunerite was documented at one of those sites, designated as site #4.


5. It is my understanding no air monitoring will required for the Bulk Sample sites. If this is true, why was the decision made to not to require air quality monitoring?  That is correct.  The estimated air emissions fall below the threshold for permitting under the air regulations that apply statewide.  Given the low estimated emissions, air monitoring also would not be required.


6. How has the DNR permitting process addressed the emerging concerns regarding Ultra Fine Particles  The department’s current air regulations do not specifically regulate ultrafine particles, although such particles are a subset of the PM2.5 particles which are regulated and subject to specific emission limits.  The scope of our air regulations reflect the air regulations established by the federal government.  As those regulations change to perhaps specifically address ultrafine particles, our regulations would similar be amended.


7. What are the plans, if any, to address the presence of asbestos like fibers  that have been found in the Penokee Hills and the impact these fibers may have the air quality and human health in the region?  We have made it very clear to the company that they will need to complete a thorough evaluation of the deposit and waste rock to evaluate the abundance and distribution of grunerite and other amphibole minerals as part of the mine permitting/EIS processes.  Further, the company will be assessing the bulk sampling sites for the presence of those minerals as well.  Department staff will be conducting surveillance activities of the bulk sampling and will verify the mineralogical assessment