Wisconsin Citizens Target Illegal Mine Company Pandering
Moore Park Siding, Wisconsin – Wisconsin citizens working to protect the pristine environment of the Penokee Range in Northern Wisconsin from morally illegitimate mining exploration and socially unacceptable environment degradation will gather on Sunday, February 16 from 1-3 PM to help bring public awareness to the proposed destruction of Wisconsin’s natural resources.
A 2 PM Press conference on Moore Park Siding, approximately 5 miles east of Mellen on Highway 77, will feature citizens who will enter the area deemed “closed to the public” by Gogebic Taconite (GTac) officials.
Citizens from Northern Wisconsin, Iron and Ashland Counties, the Chippewa Federation and those with historic ties to the ceded territory in the Bad River Watershed, and others impacted by downstream degradation from the huge open pit operation have declared their intent to violate the alleged closing of Public Managed Forest Lands (MFL) under a special law introduced by pro-mining Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst). Tiffany said it was the intent of the original pro-mining, streamlined permitting process bill, known as SB-1, and written by Gogebic Taconite attorneys, to “allow degradation of the environment.”
Dubbed the “Hunt to Save the Golden Goose” now laying pristine golden eggs of clean water, forests, lakes, trout streams, asbestos-free air and unlimited prosperity in a growing tourist-based economy, this action will include citizens who have worked tirelessly to prevent a mine, once highlighted to be one of the world’s largest open pit mines by Gogebic Taconite, from destroying the livelihood of regional farmers, tourist-based businesses and resource harvesters. The mining project is headed by GTac Manager Bill Williams, currently under investigation for committing environmental crimes in Spain.
While pro-mining legislation prevailed in the GOP-dominated atmosphere of Tea Party politics and millions of dollars in lobbying contributions during the 2010-2012 election cycle, a wide majority of citizens in Northern Wisconsin oppose the project funded by the 18th richest billionaire in the world, Chris Kline of Florida.
Senator Tiffany introduced further legislation to prevent citizens from monitoring mining exploration and charting sedimentation of trout streams and wetlands, reported by the public and confirmed by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources during drilling in the summer of 2013. The closure also allegedly prevents Chippewa Treaty citizens from observing and harvesting reserved resources.
News Release Published: August 1, 2013 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials director – 608-516-2492.
MADISON – The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a public informational hearing August 15 on the proposed bulk sampling activity and the preapplication notice to mine at Gogebic Taconite’s potential mining project near Mellen, Wisconsin.
The bulk sampling activity and potential mining site are located in the town of Anderson, Iron County, and the town of Morse in Ashland County, with the majority of the site in Iron County. For bulk sampling, the company has proposed to remove a total of 4,000 tons of rock. The rock would be removed from four or five sites using standard excavating equipment and could also involve some blasting activity. The rock would be loaded on to haul trucks and transported off-site for testing and analysis.
The hearing will be held at the Hurley High School, 5503 W. Range View Drive, Hurley, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The hearing will be a public informational hearing, where individuals can provide oral or written comments as well as learn about the proposed bulk sampling activity and the preapplication description of the potential mine project.
Agency staff will provide a brief summary of the available information about the bulk sampling and DNR approvals needed by Gogebic Taconite. These informational presentations will be at 10 a.m. and again at 5 p.m., The department will also provide a summary of the steps that must be followed prior to the submission of a mining application for the project.
The department will accept both written and oral comments at the hearing on the proposed bulk sampling activities and the preapplication description. A hearing officer will be present to conduct the hearing and may put time limits on individual oral statements to ensure an opportunity for all persons present to make statements. The hearing officer may also limit the number of representatives making oral statements on behalf of any person or group.
The public may also submit written questions at the hearing through the hearing officer, and there may be an opportunity for department staff to respond as part of the hearing.
30-day public comment period ends September 3
Any member of the public may also submit written comments on the proposed bulk sampling activity or the preapplication description of the potential mining project. The DNR will review all comments that are received on or before Sept. 3, 2013.
Comments may be submitted via mail to Larry Lynch, DNR, 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53707, or by e-mail to: DNRWAMINING-GOGEBICTACONITE@Wisconsin.gov.
More information available on-line and at local libraries
Information submitted to the agency by Gogebic Taconite, including the proposed bulk sample plan and preapplication description, is available on the Gogebic mining project page of the DNR website. People can sign up to receive email updates on the project through that page by clicking on the link for “subscribe to Gogebic Taconite project email updates.”
Gogebic Taconite’s project materials are also available at the Hurley Public Library, 405 5th Ave. N., Hurley, 715-561-5707; and at the Vaughn Public Library, 502 West Main St., Ashland, 715-682-7060.
Last night, the Iron County Board decided to negotiate with the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa about their Treaty Education and Harvest Camp in the woods near the proposed mine. The Iron County Board was to vote on a recommendation of the Forestry Committee to pursue criminal and civil charges against the Camp for camping without a permit. Board Chairman Joe Pinardi announced that they had received a letter from LCO requesting that the county go back to the bargaining table to discuss terms for the camp. At the end of the meeting the Board voted to postpone the vote on the issue until after those negotiations have taken place.
Of the 50 people showed up for the meeting, only about five were pro-mine.
Photos: Rebecca Kemble
Last Saturday, Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Sen. Dale Schultz (R-New Richmond) made a visit to Harvest Camp, where they and their wives were treated to a lunch of chicken soup and dumplings made by camp denizen Felina La Pointe. Area residents concerned about the mine spent time talking to the Senators. Paul Demain, official camp representative took them on a tour. Photos: Rob Ganson