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LRB-1129/1
RCT/MGG/RK/JK:cjs:ph
2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
January 18, 2013 - Introduced by Representatives Suder, Honadel, Williams,
August, Ballweg, Bernier, Bies, Born, Craig, Czaja, Endsley, Hutton,
Jacque, Jagler, Kapenga, Kaufert, Kerkman, Kestell, Kleefisch, Klenke,
Knodl, Knudson, Kooyenga, Kramer, Kuglitsch, T. Larson, LeMahieu,
Loudenbeck, Murphy, Murtha, Nass, Nygren, A. Ott, J. Ott, Petersen,
Petryk, Pridemore, Ripp, Sanfelippo, Schraa, Severson, Spiros, Steineke,
Stone, Strachota, Stroebel, Swearingen, Tauchen, Thiesfeldt, Tittl, Vos,
Weatherston and Weininger, cosponsored by Senators Tiffany, Gudex,
Darling, Farrow, Kedzie, Lasee, Lazich, Leibham and Vukmir. Referred to
Committee on Jobs, Economy and Mining.
AB1,2,10 1An Act to repeal 107.001 (2) and 293.01 (8); to renumber and amend 30.123
2(8) (c) and 87.30 (2); to amend 20.370 (2) (gh), 20.455 (1) (gh), 20.566 (7) (e),
320.566 (7) (v), 25.46 (7), 29.604 (4) (intro.), 29.604 (4) (c) (intro.), 30.025 (1e) (a),
430.025 (1m) (intro.), 30.025 (1m) (c), 30.025 (1s) (a), 30.025 (2), 30.025 (2g) (b)
5(intro.), 30.025 (4), 30.12 (3m) (c) (intro.), 30.133 (2), 30.19 (4) (c) (intro.), 30.195
6(2) (c) (intro.), 32.02 (12), 70.375 (1) (as), 70.375 (1) (bm), 70.375 (4) (h), 70.38
7(2), 70.395 (1e), 70.395 (2) (dc) 1., 70.395 (2) (dc) 2., 70.395 (2) (dc) 3., 70.395 (2)
8(dc) 4., 70.395 (2) (fm), 70.395 (2) (h) 1., 70.395 (2) (hg), 70.395 (2) (hr), 70.395
9(2) (hw), 107.001 (1), 107.01 (intro.), 107.01 (2), 107.02, 107.03, 107.04, 107.11,
10107.12, 107.20 (1), 107.20 (2), 107.30 (8), 107.30 (15), 107.30 (16), 160.19 (12),
11196.491 (3) (a) 3. b., 196.491 (4) (b) 2., 281.36 (3g) (h) 2., 281.65 (2) (a), 281.75
12(17) (b), 283.84 (3m), 287.13 (5) (e), 289.35, 289.62 (2) (g) 2. and 6., 292.01 (1m),
13chapter 293 (title), 293.01 (5), 293.01 (7), 293.01 (9), 293.01 (12), 293.01 (18),
14293.01 (25), 293.21 (1) (a), 293.25 (2) (a), 293.25 (4), 293.37 (4) (b), 293.47 (1) (b),

1293.50 (1) (b), 293.50 (2) (intro.), 293.50 (2) (a), 293.50 (2) (b), 293.51 (1), 293.65
2(3) (a), 293.65 (3) (b), 293.86, chapter 295 (title), 295.16 (4) (f), 299.85 (7) (a) 2.
3and 4., 299.95, 323.60 (5) (d) 3., 706.01 (9) and 710.02 (2) (d); and to create
420.370 (2) (gi), 23.321 (2g), 25.49 (2m), 29.604 (7m), 30.025 (1e) (c), 30.025 (4m),
531.23 (3) (e), 87.30 (2) (b), 196.491 (3) (a) 3. c., 227.483 (3) (c), 238.14, 293.01
6(12m), subchapter III of chapter 295 [precedes 295.40] and 323.60 (1) (gm) of
7the statutes; relating to: regulation of ferrous metallic mining and related
8activities, procedures for obtaining approvals from the Department of Natural
9Resources for the construction of utility facilities, making an appropriation,
10and providing penalties.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Overview
This bill makes changes in the laws relating to the regulation of iron mining.
Iron mining, generally
Under current law, DNR regulates mining for metallic minerals. The laws
under which DNR regulates metallic mining apply to mining for ferrous minerals
(iron) and mining for nonferrous minerals, such as copper or zinc.
This bill creates new statutes for regulating iron mining and modifies the
current laws regulating metallic mining so that they cover only mining for
nonferrous minerals.
Under current law, a person who proposes to mine for metallic minerals must
obtain a mining permit and any other permit, license, certification, or other
authorization (approval) that is required under the environmental and natural
resources laws, other than the mining laws, for example, wastewater discharge
permits, high capacity well approvals, and permits for discharges into wetlands.
Under the bill, a person who proposes to mine for iron ore must obtain an iron
mining permit. The person must obtain some of the approvals under other
environmental and natural resources laws, for example, wastewater discharge
permits, but the bill provides approvals specific to iron mining in lieu of some current
approvals, for example, high capacity well approvals and permits for discharges into
wetlands. The standards and procedures for granting, and the requirements related
to, an iron mining permit and the other approvals specific to iron mining differ in
some respects from the standards, procedures, and requirements under current law,
as described below.

Current law requires DNR to promulgate rules specifying standards for
metallic mining and for the reclamation of mining sites. The rules relating to mining
must contain standards for grading and stabilization, backfilling, vegetative cover,
prevention of pollution resulting from leaching of waste materials, and prevention
of significant environmental pollution. The rules relating to reclamation must
contain provisions for disposal of wastes in disposal facilities licensed under the solid
waste laws or otherwise in an environmentally sound manner, for management of
runoff so as to prevent soil erosion, flooding, and water pollution, and for
minimization of disturbance to wetlands. DNR has promulgated rules on these
matters.
The bill places standards for iron mining and for the reclamation of iron mining
sites in the statutes, rather than requiring rule-making. The standards in the bill
are similar in many respects to DNR's current rules and are less stringent in other
respects.
Current law prohibits DNR from issuing a permit for metallic mining in a
sulfide ore body (a mineral deposit in which metals are mixed with sulfide minerals)
unless it finds, based on information provided by the applicant, that two conditions
are satisfied. The first condition is that a mining operation has operated in a sulfide
ore body that has a net acid generating potential for at least ten years without
causing water pollution from acid drainage or the release of heavy metals. The
second condition is that a mining operation that operated in a sulfide ore body that
has a net acid generating potential has been closed for at least ten years without
causing water pollution from acid drainage or the release of heavy metals.
Under the bill, these conditions on issuing a permit for metallic mining in a
sulfide ore body do not apply to issuing a permit for iron mining.
Preapplication process
Under current law, a person who intends to apply for a permit for mining for
metallic ore must notify DNR before collecting data intended to be used to support
the application. DNR is required to provide public notice when it receives such a
notification. After considering public comments, DNR must tell the person who filed
the notice of intent what information DNR believes is needed to support an
application for a mining permit. The person must submit the information as soon
as it is in final form. Under this bill, these provisions do not apply to a person who
intends to apply for an iron mining permit.
This bill requires a person who is contemplating an iron mining project to
provide DNR with a general description of the proposed mining project. The
description must include a description of the mining site, including the nature,
extent, and final configuration of the proposed excavation and mining site and
certain other informations including a map showing the boundaries of the area of
land that will be affected by the mining project. The bill requires the person to
include this information with the bulk sampling plan, described below, or if the
person does not file a bulk sampling plan, with the person's notification to DNR of
the person's intent to apply for an iron mining permit. The bill requires DNR to
conduct a public informational hearing on a proposed mining project after receiving

the general description, either as part of the hearing on approvals required for bulk
sampling or, if there is no such hearing, as a separate hearing.
This bill requires a person who intends to apply for an iron mining permit to
notify DNR of that intention at least 12 months before filing the application. The bill
requires DNR to meet with the applicant to make a preliminary assessment of the
project's scope, to make an analysis of alternatives, to identify potential interested
persons, and to ensure that the person intending to apply for an iron mining permit
is aware of the approvals that the person may be required to obtain. DNR must also
ensure that the person is aware of the requirements for submission of an
environmental impact report and of the information DNR will require to enable it to
process the application for the mining permit in a timely manner.
After the meeting, DNR must provide to the applicant any available
information relevant to the potential impact of the project on threatened or
endangered species and historic or cultural resources and any other information
relevant to impacts that are required to be considered in the environmental impact
statement.
Application for mining permit
Under current law, a person who wishes to obtain a permit for metallic mining
must submit an application to DNR that includes a mining plan, a reclamation plan,
information about the owners of the mining site, and information related to the
failure to reclaim mining sites and to any criminal convictions for violations of
environmental laws in the course of mining by persons involved in the proposed
mining. The application must also include evidence that the applicant has applied
for necessary approvals under applicable zoning ordinances and for any approvals
issued by DNR that are necessary to conduct the mining, such as air pollution
permits and wastewater discharge permits.
This bill includes similar provisions for the application for an iron mining
permit, except that the applicant may provide evidence that the applicant will apply,
rather than has applied, for necessary zoning approvals and for other approvals
issued by DNR.
The required content of the mining plan for iron mining under the bill is similar
to that required under current statutes and DNR rules. The required content of the
reclamation plan for iron mining is also similar to that required under current law.
Current law requires the applicant for a metallic mining permit to show that
the mining and reclamation will comply with specified minimum standards. The bill
requires showings by the applicant for an iron mining permit that differ in some ways
from current law. For example, current law requires a demonstration that water
runoff from the mining site will be managed so as to prevent soil erosion to the extent
practicable, flooding, damage to agricultural lands or livestock, damage to wild
animals, pollution of ground or surface waters, and damage to public health and
safety. The bill, instead, requires a showing that water runoff from an iron mining
site will be managed in compliance with any approval that regulates construction
site erosion control or storm water management.

Permitting process
Environmental impact statement
Current law requires DNR to prepare an environmental impact statement
(EIS) for every proposed metallic mine. An EIS contains detailed information about
the environmental impact of a proposed project, including any adverse
environmental effects that cannot be avoided if the proposal is implemented,
alternatives to the proposed project, the beneficial aspects of the proposal, and the
economic advantages and disadvantages of the proposal. For a metallic mining
project, current law requires a description of significant long-term and short-term
impacts, including impacts after the mining has ended, on tourism, employment,
schools, social services, the tax base, the local economy, and "other significant
factors."
This bill requires DNR to prepare an EIS for every proposed iron mine. The bill
requires DNR to include a description of significant impacts on most of the same
matters as under current metallic mining law.
Under current law, when a person applies for a permit or other approval for
which DNR is required to complete an EIS, DNR is generally authorized to require
the applicant to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) that discloses
environmental impacts of the proposed project to assist DNR in preparing the EIS.
Current law authorizes DNR to enter into an agreement with a person considering
applying to DNR for approval of a project that is large, complex, or environmentally
sensitive to provide preapplication services necessary to evaluate the environmental
impact of the project and to expedite the anticipated preparation of an EIS for the
project.
The bill requires the applicant for a mining permit to prepare an EIR. The bill
requires the applicant for a mining permit to submit the EIR with the application for
the mining permit.
Current law authorizes DNR to conduct the processes related to an EIS jointly
with other agencies who have responsibilities related to a proposed project.
The bill requires DNR to conduct its environmental review process for a
proposed iron mine jointly with other state agencies and requires the preparation of
one joint EIS. The bill requires DNR to conduct its environmental review process
jointly with any federal or local agency that consents to a joint process.
Current law requires DNR to hold at least one informational meeting on a
preliminary environmental report for a mining project before it issues the EIS. This
bill does not require such an informational meeting.
Mining hearing
Current law requires DNR to hold a public hearing, called a master hearing, on
an application for a metallic mining permit between 120 and 180 days after it issues
the EIS for the proposed mine and before it acts on the mining permit application.
The hearing includes both a contested case hearing, with testimony under oath and
the opportunity for cross-examination, and a public informational hearing. The law
requires the hearing to cover the EIS and all other approvals issued by DNR that are
required for the mining project, to the extent possible. Under current law, the
provisions related to notice, hearing, and comment in the metallic mining law apply

to any other needed approval, unless the applicant fails to make an application for
an approval in time for it to be considered at the master hearing.
This bill requires DNR to hold a public informational hearing for a proposed
iron mining project before it acts on a mining permit application. The hearing does
not include a contested case hearing. The hearing must cover the mining permit, the
EIS, and all other approvals issued by DNR that are required for the mining project,
unless the application for an approval is filed too late to allow the approval to be
considered at the mining hearing. The bill requires DNR to take testimony at the
hearing on certain issues with regard to a proposed withdrawal of groundwater or
surface water including the public rights in any body of water and the related
environment that may be injured by the proposed withdrawal, the public benefits
provided by increased employment, economic activity, and tax revenues from the
proposed mining, and the rights of competing users of the groundwater or surface
water. Under the bill, the provisions related to notice, hearing, and comment in the
iron mining law apply to any other required approval.
Deadline; for acting on permit application
Current law does not specify a time, after the application for a mining permit
is filed, within which DNR must act on a metallic mining permit application. It does
require the master hearing to be held between 120 days and 180 days after DNR
issues the EIS and requires DNR to act on the permit within 90 days after the
completion of the record for the public hearing.
The bill requires DNR to act on an application for an iron mining permit no
more than 420 days after the application is considered to be complete unless DNR
and the applicant agree to extend the deadline. The parties may agree to only one
extension, which may not exceed 60 days. DNR and the applicant may agree to an
extension only if an extension is necessary to allow DNR and the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers to jointly prepare the EIS or if new information or a change to the
mining proposal necessitates additional time to review the application. Under the
bill, if the applicant submits the application for another approval within 60 days
after the application for the mining permit is considered to be complete, DNR must
also act on the application for that approval by the deadline for acting on the mining
permit application. If the applicant files the application for another approval more
than 60 days after the application for the mining permit is considered to be complete,
the deadline for DNR's action on the approval is extended by the number of days the
application is late.
If DNR does not act within the deadline for acting on the application for an iron
mining permit, DNR must refund the fees paid by the applicant. The bill also
authorizes the applicant to bring a court action to compel DNR to act on the mining
permit.
Determination of completeness
The bill requires DNR to review the application for a mining permit and, within
30 days, determine whether the application is complete. If DNR determines that the
application is complete, it notifies the applicant and the date of the notification is the
date on which the application is considered to be complete. If DNR determines that
the application is incomplete, it notifies the applicant and may make one request for

additional information within the 30-day review period. If DNR fails to provide a
notice during the 30-day review period, the application is considered to be complete
at the end of that period. Within 10 days after receiving additional requested
information, DNR notifies the applicant whether it has received all of the requested
information. The day on which DNR sends the second notice is the day on which the
application is considered to be complete. If DNR fails to provide a notice during the
10-day period, the application is considered to be complete at the end of that period.
The bill authorizes DNR to request additional information needed to process
the application for a mining permit after the application is considered to be complete,
but it may not delay the determination that the application is complete based on a
request for additional information.
Grant or denial of mining permit
Grounds for denial
Current law requires DNR to deny an application for a metallic mining permit
for a proposed surface mine if the site is unsuitable for surface mining. A site is
unsuitable for surface mining if the surface mining may reasonably be expected to
destroy or damage either: 1) habitats required for the survival of endangered species
of vegetation or wildlife that cannot be firmly reestablished elsewhere; or 2) unique
features of the land, as determined by state or federal designation, as, for example,
wilderness areas, national or state parks, archaeological areas, and other lands of
a type specified by DNR by rule, as unique or unsuitable for surface mining. DNR
has designated more than 150 specific scientific areas for the purposes of the
determination of unsuitability.
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