MADISON - Gogebic Taconite took another step towards mining in Northern Wisconsin. The company submitted a new application for exploratory drilling in the Penokee range.
In 2011 the DNR gave Gogebic Taconite permission to explore the region and test-drill in several sites, but the company withdrew their plans.
Now the DNR is required by law to approve or reject Gogebic's new request within 10 days. The request for exploratory drilling they submitted Wednesday is NOT to mine the area, but to check the ground for certain minerals.
Ann Coakley, the director of the DNRs Waste & Materials Management program explains: "We look at what kind of minerals will be in the water, sediments in the water and make sure that it's clean enough after running through their waste water system that it can actually be put back into the environment."
Before Gogebic Taconite can submit an application to MINE the area, they have to show how they can do it without negatively affecting the environment.
In the exploration they would pull 2-inch cores out of the ground in 13 sites. Some of those test cores come from 300 to 1,000 feet underground. They're looking to see what kind of minerals they'd have to clean up from the "waste rock" they pull out in search of the iron-rich ore.
"It's really up to the applicant to show us that they can have a mine and manage it in a way such that they won't have these negative impacts on the environment," says Coakley.
Coakley says it is possible to manage a mine effectively and safely, but each mining site is different, so each needs to be reviewed carefully.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
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