REGIONAL—Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Commissioner Mark Phillips has approved a $250,000 grant to the Fond du Lac Band. Funds will be used toward a new water tower to serve the communities of Mahnomen and Brookston. The first phase of the project is $1.3 million and includes the construction of the water tower. The total project cost for all phases of the water treatment system is $11.93 million.
A funding request for the project was originally presented at the June 10 Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board meeting but was tabled after several Iron Range legislators raised concerns about the Fond du Lac Band's views on mining and mine pollution and asked for more information. The legislators' decision came under fire from a number of media sources, including the Timberjay. The IRRR board, which once controlled the agency, now plays only an advisory role, which is why Phillips was able to move forward with the funding without board approval.
“After gathering additional information from our funding partners, I am pleased to move forward with this important infrastructure project to provide clean drinking water for the residents of Mahnomen and Brookston," said Phillips. "The project meets our program guidelines and aligns with our mission and vision to foster vibrant growth and economic prosperity in northeastern Minnesota."