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Legal notice of opportunity to comment on the Kawishiwi Mineral Exploration EA (36 CFR § 215)

The Ely Echo
September 21, 2007

The Forest Service is seeking public comment on proposed minerals exploration to be conducted on the Kawishiwi Ranger District of the Superior National Forest (Kawishiwi Minerals Exploration EA). The proposed activities would occur about 10 miles southeast of Ely, MN, on State Highway 1 in an area southeast of the South Kawishiwi River. Minnesota State Highway 1 passes through the area in the vicinity of the proposed activities. Activities proposed include geophysical surveys and drilling core samples of hardrock ore at 74 sites. Temporary roads are also proposed for accessing drilling sites.

The Forest Service is the lead agency for this project analysis and the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a cooperating agency.

The role of the Forest Service in this process is to ensure the permits and lease contain stipulations and conditions that properly protect the surface environment without unnecessarily restricting operations. With respect to the two prospecting permit proposals, the Forest Service decisions are to ensure that the operating plans are consistent with the terms and conditions of the Forest Service consent to the permits and to determine if additional measures are needed for the permit in order to protect surface resources. With respect to the mineral lease proposal, the Forest Service decision is to ensure that the operating plan is consistent with the surface use terms and conditions of the mineral lease.

The role of the BLM in this process is to ensure sufficient analysis of potential surface and below hole effects in the EA to enable their approval of the minerals exploration operating plans submitted by Duluth Metals, Encampment Resources, and Franconia Exploration. It is beyond the scope of this project to reconsider the issuance of the prospecting permits or lease for the proposed operating plans. The permits and lease are based on previous BLM decisions.

The opportunity to comment ends 30 days following the date of publication of the legal notice in the newspaper of record; regulations prohibit legal notices from specifying the date since newspaper publication dates may vary (36 CFR 215).

After a decision is issued, appeals may be filed by persons or non-Federal organizations or entities that provide comments or otherwise express interest in the proposed action by the close of this comment period. Note that for appeal eligibility each individual or representative from each organization commenting must either sign the comments or verify identity upon request.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who submit anonymous comments may not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR 215.

Please send comments to the responsible official, Mark E. Van Every, District Ranger, Kawishiwi Minerals Exploration Project, 8901 Grand Avenue Place, Duluth MN, 55808; or fax 218-626-4398. Comments to be delivered in person should be sent to the street address between the hours of 8:00 to 4:30. Send electronic comments to comments-eastern-superior@fs.fed.us. Acceptable formats for electronic comments are: text (.txt), MSWord 6.0 or higher (.doc), portable document format (.pdf), or rich text format (.rtf). All email submissions must contain "Kawishiwi Minerals Exploration EA" as the first words on the subject line.

The Environmental Assessment, Biological Assessment and Biological Evaluation are available on the Superior National Forest website: www.fs.fed.us/r9/ forests/superior. If you have questions or need additional information, contact Michael Jiménez at 8901 Grand Ave. Pl., Duluth, MN or phone him at (218) 626-4383.