Monday, October 30, 2006

Michigan Getting Tough with Mercury Polluters

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Attorney General announced today that the state has entered into an agreement with The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company (Cliffs) to resolve issues related to mercury contamination in Deer Lake, north of Ishpeming.

The company has agreed to restore the quality of Deer Lake by assuring that the present water level of the lake is maintained, addressing sources of mercury to the lake, and monitoring the mercury level of fish in the lake, notifying those results to the public. Cliffs will also hand-over extensive acreage, properties, easements and rights-of-way to the state of Michigan that will dramatically increase public access to Deer Lake and other lakes and rivers in the area.

The company will also establish a Deer Lake restoration fund in order to create and upgrade public access to recreational areas and to restrict development in order to protect the water quality, maintain the aesthetics, and preserve the woodlands along the shores of Deer Lake. 775 acres and 34,000 feet of shoreline of Deer Lake will be deeded to local government and 541 acres along the Carp River downstream of the Deer Lake dam will be deeded to the state of Michigan. Cliffs will also provide funding to a dam maintenance account that will ensure the dam remains properly maintained.

Cleveland-Cliffs will also provide acreage, easements, and financial support to create or enhance the use of, and public access to, a number of other Marquette County lakes, rivers, streams, and impoundments. This work will include improved access to the waters, and will offer additional recreational opportunities in the area.