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      Environmental group reacts to Rio Tinto's independent monitoring

      An environmental group opposed to Rio Tinto's Marquette County mining operations is reacting to the company's decision to allow independent monitoring of its operations.

      On Thursday, Rio Tinto announced it will pay for the Superior Watershed Partnership to conduct independent air and water quality tests at the Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill.

      The National Wildlife Federation came out against the mine since the beginning, but an attorney for the group says independent monitoring is welcomed.

      "I have to admit I was a little skeptical about Rio Tinto's involvement in it," said Michelle Halley, an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation. "I did look at the agreement this morning and actually it looks pretty good. I really hope that the practical carrying out of that agreement looks as good as it does on paper."

      The Michigan Court of Appeals has taken up a lawsuit filed by the National Wildlife Federation in regards to the mines' permits.

      The case is currently in the briefing stage.