From Stacy Rowe – WI DNR
June 24, 2014
I appreciate your comments regarding this project. To answer your questions:
Gtac has not yet applied for an Incidental Take (IT) Permit yet as the mining will not be starting anytime within the next year. IT permits generally only have a year long time limit on them but can be renewed if necessary. Gtac is in the process of conducting preliminary site investigation activities to determine whether the company will go forward with the submission of an application for a permit to mine. These investigations will include evaluation of the biological and wildlife resources on the site, including review of any threatened/endangered species.
Rori Paloski is our Incidental Take Coordinator and provided me with these stats regarding IT permits:
• We have issued 4 individual Incidental Take Permits/Authorizations (ITP/As) to date in 2014. These permits included utility, road and land management projects.
• In 2013, we issued 41 ITP/As. These permits included utility, road, land management, streambank stabilization and residential development projects.
• There are also several Broad Incidental Take Permits/Authorizations (BITP/A) that can be followed: Grassland and Savanna Protocols BITP/A, No/Low Impact Activities BITP/A, Common Activities BITP/A and Cave Bat BITP/A.
• Additional information on the incidental take process and the BITP/As can be found here: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ERReview/Take.html.
With regard to the Gtac project, It would only be possible for a certified reviewer to enter the area with permission from Gtac. However, we are continuing to work with the company as it conducts its site investigation. Should the company go forward with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and an application for a permit to mine, we will prepare our own Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project.
Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law protects against direct take of an endangered/threatened species. We will be working with the company to make sure avoidance measures are followed to the maximum extent possible and if not, then an IT permit will need to be applied for. In addition, State Statute 295.465 (2)(b) in the mining law also requires the company to consider impacts to endangered resources. As you may know, the Department provided a letter to the company on March 10, 2014, in response to the company’s pre-application notice that it may file a request for a mining permit. Our letter explains the environmental review requirements, including those for an IT permit, should the company decide to pursue a mining permit application. The Department’s March 10, 2014 pre-application notification letter and additional information on the status of the Gtac project is available here: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/mines/gogebic.html.
Regarding releasing the ER Review to the public, State Statute 23.27(3)(b) contains restrictions on the disclosure of NHI data. Specifically, NHI data is not subject to the state Open Records law. While we are happy to share with you a version of the ER Review with all confidential NHI data redacted, disclosure of NHI data is strictly limited in order to protect the endangered/threatened species.
Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 608.266.7012 | Stacy.Rowe@wisconsin.gov
Website: dnr.wi.gov | Facebook: www.facebook.com/WIDNR