MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a tentative settlement with four iron mines in Minnesota and Michigan that’s aimed at reducing atmospheric haze over pristine areas including Voyageurs and Isle Royale national parks and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

The settlement, announced this week by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who represents northeastern Minnesota’s Iron Range, applies to processing plants at the United Taconite, Hibbing Taconite and Minorca mines in Minnesota, and the Tilden mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Nolan said the settlement would improve air quality while protecting jobs by giving the mining companies time to develop and install new equipment.

The proposed settlement lays out a five-year plan for the companies to phase in furnace technologies that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Nolan said the agreement raises hope for quick settlements between the EPA and other taconite operations as well.

EPA spokeswoman Phillippa Cannon said Wednesday that an official notice would be published in the Federal Register in the next few days, starting a 30-day public comment period.

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“We need to look at the details of the settlement to make sure that EPA has stuck to its guns and is going to get actual emission reductions out of the taconite facilities because they are a huge contributor to the pollution problem,” Kevin Reuther, legal director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, told Minnesota Public Radio.

The EPA had earlier rejected a plan submitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The negotiations began after the two companies that operate the four mines— Cliffs Natural Resources and ArcelorMittal — and the state of Michigan objected to the EPA’s counterproposal and sued.

The MPCA continues to work on a plan for reducing emissions at coal-fired power plants that have also been blamed for the regional haze that sometimes obscures the views in the two parks and the BWCA.

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