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      DEQ hearing primer

      The Department of Environmental Quality will answer questions and take public comment on Kennecott's application to reopen the old Humboldt Mill next Tuesday.

      However, before that meeting gets underway, environmental groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, and Save the Wild U.P., hosted a public educational forum on how to comment most effectively at the DEQ public meeting.

      "I think it's a lot for people to grasp," says Teresa Bertossi of Save the Wild U.P., "because there are so many processes going on and so many different applications being filed. I think it can be difficult for the general public to have time to even keep up with that."

      Kennecott Minerals purchased the old Humboldt Mill last September with plans to grind up ore rock, from its proposed mine in the Yellow Dog Plains.

      Sounds relatively simple to understand, but there's a lot more that goes into it. The application to the DEQ is thousands of pages long.

      "It's very cumbersome," says Kristi Mills of Save the Wild U.P. "It's in some people's eyes ridiculously long."

      So to lessen the burden on concerned citizens, instead of having to review the entire application themselves, they were able to ask questions.

      "There are these big vague descriptions of minimizing water toxins and surface water with no description of how they're going to do it," said Robert Rivera of Iron River.

      Organizers hope by answering people's questions in the educational forum, they'll in turn go to the DEQ's public meeting and be able to pinpoint what they feel are inaccuracies in the Humboldt Mill application.

      "My main concern as Humboldt Township supervisor was that we have these hearings held in Humboldt Township for the local residents to voice their opinions," said Joe Derocha.

      The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 18, at the Humboldt Township Hall.

      The formal testimony taken at the public meeting will be used in making a preliminary decision. After that, the public will have another opportunity to comment before a final DEQ decision is made.