In August 1973, the United States v. Reserve Mining case went to court. Judge Miles Lord presided. The public took great interest. Both sides were heavily supported. The court decided that the presence of asbestos in the taconite tailings was classified as a health hazard. Judge Lord asked the president of Reserve Mining Company if the company had considered dumping on land. He responded that they had not. It was later found out that Reserve Mining Company had done extensive research about dumping on land. Judge Lord then ordered the two sides to sit down and come to an agreement. This did not work. After about nine months of trial, Judge Lord called the chairman of Reserve Mining Company, C. William Verity, to the stand. Judge Lord asked him if he could stop polluting the water. Verity responded with, "We don't have to, we won't."
"The Court of Appeals agreed that the discharge into the water created a potential health threat endangering the health and welfare of North Shore citizens" - Court Transcript, United States v. Reserve Mining