DULUTH—The Forest Service has completed an environmental assessment (EA) that addresses Twin Metals Minnesota LLC request for special use permits that would authorize access to national forest system lands within the Superior National Forest to collect baseline hydrogeologic (groundwater) data. Prior to making a decision, the Forest Service is inviting the public to review and comment on the EA.
Twin Metals Minnesota is proposing to construct up to 13 monitoring sites on national forest system lands. Associated activities for each site would include improving existing or constructing temporary access, drilling monitoring wells, collecting water data and periodic maintenance. The proposed site locations are in St. Louis and Lake counties, near Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River.
The monitoring sites on national forest system lands are part of a larger Twin Metals Minnesota hydrogeologic study that includes a total of up to 116 monitoring sites across different ownerships in the vicinity. This study is designed to provide a better understanding of existing hydrologic and geologic conditions and hydrogeologic processes in the area.
The Forest Service EA documents an analysis by an interdisciplinary team of resource specialists. The project team considered 101 comment letters that were received during an earlier public scoping period. In response to public concerns about drilling noise impacting recreation, wilderness and local landowners, the interdisciplinary team developed an alternative that would reduce noise impacts.
For 30 days following publication of the October 10 legal notice announcing the EA, individuals or organizations may submit comments regarding the EA. The Forest Service will issue a draft Decision Notice after the responsible official has reviewed and considered all the comments. Only those who submit a comment are eligible to file an objection to the draft Decision Notice during a subsequent 45-day objection period.
More information can be found on the Superior National Forest website www.fs.usda.gov/superior.