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Ashland Committee argues over banning explosives in areas with asbestos
An Ashland County committee decided today to explore an ordinance that would ban the use of explosives in areas where asbestos-like fibers are found. Mike Simonson reports.
The ordinance is targeting a possible open pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Range.
Within hours of reports that asbestos-like fibers were found in a rock sampling site in the Penokees, Ashland County Board Chairman Pete Russo called a special meeting of the Mining Impact Committee. He wants to make sure residents are protected from dust raised by explosives.
But Committee member Ray Hyde of Ashland says it isn’t needed. He says the state and federal standards will keep them safe as GTAC pursues a permit to mine the area.
“Because I don’t believe this county or this city or this area can afford to fight GTAC to win.”
Committee member Donna Williamson disagrees. She says the county must protect itself.
“If we can prove that asbestos and other stuff produced through mining is in fact a public health hazard, the county has the right, no, back up, has the responsibility to declare this a public health hazard.”
After more than three hours of testimony and debate, the committee decided to meet again October 25 about banning the use of explosives in areas that have minerals with asbestos-like fibers.
Lots of comments came from the so-called “asbestos meeting” by the Ashland County Mining Impact Committee. A side note came from Northland College President Mike Miller.
If it hadn’t been for Northland College Geoscience Professor Tom Fitz finding the asbestos-like fibers at a rock sampling site 10 days before, the meeting and controversy wouldn’t have happened.
Miller told the committee that Northland College does not advocate for one side or the other on mining, but he says they’re for science. So he’s standing with Fitz and his findings.
Miller was off-mic of the Indian Country TV live coverage, but he said Fitz did confirm his findings with other experts in the field.Previous KUWS Articles:
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