Environment: Test on Taconite

By the shore of Gitche Gumee By the shining Big-Sea-Water

—The Song of Hiawatha Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

More than a century after it inspired Longfellow, the northernmost of the Great Lakes still lives up to the poet's praise. The world's largest expanse of fresh water, Lake Superior has managed to maintain much of its purity because it has attracted relatively few polluting industries. An exception: the Reserve Mining Co.'s ore-processing plant at Silver Bay, Minn., dumps 67,000 tons of pulverized taconite waste, or "tailings," into the lake every day.

Now the Justice Department has filed...

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