Upcoming Meetings Concerning Mining and Environmental Issues

Please join us for several public meeting being held in July concerning mining and environmental issues.

July 10, Joint Anderson, Ashland, Iron and Morse Mining Impact Committee
6 pm, Morse Town Hall  Click here for agenda.  Important discussion of the State Mining Impact Board status.

July 16, Iron County Zoning committee
3 pm, courthouse in Hurley.  Will post agenda here when published

July 23 , Iron County Forestry Committee
9 am, Forestry Committee Room, Hurley. Will post agenda here when published.

July 25, Iron County Citizens Forum
7 pm, Oma Town Hall,  Jason Lauman, Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC), on economic impacts of mining and analysis of Northstar Report.

July 27, Iron County Lakes and Rivers Alliance, Inc.
9 am, Oma Town Hall, Kevin Brewster (Bad River Watershed Association on taking the temp of rivers.  Followed by annual meeting and election of officers.

July 29, Iron County Mining Impact Committee
4 pm,   Courthouse in Hurley,  Will post agenda here when published.

July 30, Iron County Board
6 pm.  Courthouse in Hurley,  Will post agenda here when published.

Extreme Mining Advocate Tom Tiffany Misrepresents George Meyer 100%

Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) misrepresents George Meyer's presentation 100%

Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) at the Iron County Citizen’s Forum June 27, 2013 when George Meyer spoke. In a press release the following day, Tiffany misrepresents Meyer’s presentation 100%.

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Press Release
Contact: George Meyer, Executive Director, 608-516-5545

Video and Audio Tapes Show that Senator Tiffany’s Comments About WWF Presentation’s on Zoning In Iron County Vary 100% From the Truth.

Poynette: Last Thursday evening, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Executive Director George Meyer made a two-hour presentation on local regulation of mining at the request of the neutral and nonpartisan Iron County Citizens Forum. The Forum has put on a series of unbiased programs on various aspects of the proposed iron mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Mr. Meyer was asked to put on a presentation on the role of local zoning and local agreements with mining companies as part of metallic mining projects in the state. State law specifically authorizes local units of government to adopt mining ordinances and enter into local agreements. This has been the common practice of local units of government in all recent mining projects in Wisconsin. The purpose of local ordinances relating to mining are to protect private property rights and to protect county taxpayers especially when, as in the Iron County situation, four thousand acres of county land will be used for the mining project.

In a recent present release and in comments last Friday to the Ironwood Daily Globe, Senator Tiffany indicated: “Last night, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s paid lobbyist George Meyer suggested Iron County may want to implement a two-year ferrous mining moratorium.”

“It is very difficult to understand why Senator Tiffany who was present at the Forum would risk his personal credibility by making such a clearly untruthful statement when he was fully aware that the whole two hour presentation was being video and audio taped,” stated George Meyer, WWF Executive Director. “Following is an exact transcription of my comments on the issue of a county mining moratorium as recorded by an audio tape of the complete presentation.”

Transcription of the recording of George Meyer’s remarks about a two-year moratorium presented at the Iron County Citizens Forum, Thurs., June 27th in the Town of Oma Hall:

1. “What many of these counties have done, (speaking about frac sand mining) put a 2 yr moratorium and that’s legal but you have to do it with the intent to adopt an ordinance, otherwise it’s confiscatory. And they can sue for that. What it basically is so they can freeze the situation so they can develop the proper regulation. That’s a pretty strong message and I don’t know that I would advise that. I think the county’s (Iron County) approach of putting out a place holder (ordinance), it gives you some protection even though it might not do all the things necessary as Ashland’s does, but it puts the company on notice which is fair to the company that there is going to be a local zoning rule and it’s in fact that a local impact agreement is going to be. I think it’s a sound idea and then you can come back in and come in with a more complete ordinance after you have more chance to research, far friendlier that putting a moratorium in place.” and

2. “and believe me, I think you heard I don’t think moratorium’s are a friendly document.” and

3. “Q. Can Iron County still enforce a moratorium that you mentioned? A. “I think it’s a wise decision to propose an ordinance rather than say nothing happens for 2 years.”

Senator Tiffany then when on to assert in his press release and comments: “I have no problem with anti-mining groups making a presentation, but do not pretend to be neutral arbiters when an anti-mining advocate like George Meyer is the presenter.”

In response to this statement, Executive Director Meyer indicated: “Senator Tiffany’s statement ignores the fact that during my presentation I repeatedly stated 1. that neither I nor the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation has taken a position on the proposed Penokee mine, 2. that in my former DNR career, I was involved in the approval of metallic mines in the state, 3. that when I was DNR Secretary, both Governor Thompson and I were routinely criticized and protested as being pro-mining and 4. that, in my Thursday remarks, I repeatedly spoke approvingly of the Flambeau and Jackson County mines and their associated mining companies: Kennicott Copper and U.S. Steel”.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation fully respects Senator Tiffany’s position on the Penokee mine but is hopeful that in the future his comments on the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and its employees are firmly grounded in factual information.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, founded in 1949, is the state’s largest conservation organization, and is comprised of 185 hunting, fishing and trapping organizations. Its Mission is conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation policies.


See a video of Meyer’s presentation here

VIDEO: Former DNR Secretary Speaks at Iron County Citizen’s Forum on Mining Ordinance

On June 27, 2013, former DNR Secretary and current Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation George Meyer spoke to a group of concerned citizens to help prepare them for a public hearing concerning the first draft of a metallic mining amendment to the Iron County zoning ordinance. Hosted by the Iron County Citizen’s Forum, Meyer spent two hours speaking and answering questions on the ramifications of mining and the necessity of local ordinances to protect the county from escalating costs and risks involved in permitting a 22-mile open pit mountaintop removal mine.

Meyer’s extensive experience with permitting mines during his tenure at the DNR was invaluable in helping citizens realize the burden that local units of government will be forced to take on if a mine of this size is permitted.

The public hearing will be held Monday, July 1, 2013 at 6 PM at the Memorial Center in Hurley.

Read the report of the meeting at the Woods Person Blog here. Or watch Meyer’s presentation below.

For more information on the Iron County Citizen’s Forum please contact Terry Daulton at 715-476-3530.

June 5, 2013 Iron County Citizen’s Forum Sponsors Program, “Understanding County Forest Withdrawal Process”

ICCF PicktureOn June 5, at 7:00 PM, the Iron County Citizen’s Forum, a newly formed education group, is sponsoring a program on aspects of the county forest and county forest withdrawal process at the Town Hall in Oma on Hwy. 51.  The program is free and open to the public. The goal of the program is to provide an opportunity to learn and ask questions specific to county forest lands.  This program is the first, in what the Citizen’s Forum expects to be a series of focused education programs.

Speakers for the program will include Joe Vairus, Iron County Forest Administrator and Joe Schwantes, County and Public Lands Specialist from the DNR Bureau of Forestry.  Joe Vairus will give an overview of the natural resources, history and forestry operations on the 3,000+ acres being considered for lease to GTac under the pending iron mining proposal.  Joe Schwantes will address the process of county forest land withdrawals, opportunities for citizen input, and ways that the new ferrous mining law will impact the county forest regulations.  Each speaker will give a brief presentation followed by a facilitated question and answer period.

The purpose of the Iron County Citizen’s Forum, is to “Provide Iron County citizens with a venue for learning, discussion and participation relating to activities and events that affect Iron County residents in a significant way, with a special emphasis on natural and cultural resources and sustainable development”.
The Citizen’s Forum first met on April 11th with about 60 people attending. The motivation for the first get together was to bring together people from a variety of perspectives that had an interest in learning more about the pending iron mining proposal.  Based on brainstorming from that evening, the group has established a steering committee to develop an outline for the organization’s purpose, methods and goals.  During this discussion, the group decided to address a range of issues that might interest Iron County citizens.  The group is non-political, and will focus on providing accurate information to Iron County citizens in a non-threatening environment to promote shared discussion and learning.

For more information on the June 5 program, or for information on the Citizen’s Forum, please contact Terry Daulton, 715-476-3530, tdaulton@centurytel.net

Join us! Celebrate the Penokees! May 24 – 26, 2013

Tyler Fork River  Photo: Rebecca Kemble

Tyler Fork River Photo: Rebecca Kemble

Join us in a celebration of the Penokees!

Copper Falls State Park is full. Consider booking a room at the casino or camping at LCO Harvest Camp. See below for directions.

Front windowFriday, May 24, 2013
Benefit for The Penokee Hills Education Project
Bad River Casino Convention Center
73370 U.S. Highway 2
Odanah, WI 54861
Located 10 miles east of Ashland, Wisconsin on U.S. Highway 2

6 PM Food
7 PM Music
Silent Auction 6 – 10 PM
Performances by
Red Cliff Hoop Dancers
Thistle & The Thorns (from Madison!)
Skip Jones
Barbara With
Wade Fernandez

Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls State Park

Saturday, May 25, 2013
Annishinabeg Nation Treaty Rights Celebration
Copper Falls State Park
11AM  –  3 PM
Feasting, drumming, singing, hiking

Tours of Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp and Skulan University
3 – 6 PM
The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe has opened a treaty harvest and educational camp on public lands in the Penokee Hills. Fully permitted by the Tribe, the Harvest Camp give visitors a chance to explore the area from the ground and get to know the amazing abundance that the Penokee Hills provide. The tour will offer insights into gathering and foraging, and the chance to see what will be gone forever if the mine is built. Bring your tent and camp supplies and stay over night, or join a Saturday tour.

Foundation of an old school located near Harvest Camp

Foundation of an old school located near Harvest Camp

Lucky Rocket In Concert
1 – 6 PM
Upson City Park Local band Lucky Rocket will be rolling out the punches against the proposed Penokee Mountain Iron Mine. A rock opera in real time! Also a jam session, bring your instruments!

Ojibwe walleye fishing
9 PM Galilee Lake

Sunday, May 26, 2013
Picnic in downtown Mellen
1 – 3 PM AM

Happy campers visiting LCO Harvest Camp

Happy campers visiting LCO Harvest Camp

Wild leeks or onions, sometimes called ramps, growing in the Penokee Hills. Photo: Nick Vander Puy

Wild leeks or onions, sometimes called ramps, growing in the Penokee Hills. Photo: Nick Vander Puy

To get to LCO Harvest Camp:
From Mellen, go south on 13. Turn east on 77 toward Hurley. Go east approx 7 miles. At about mile 5.5 you cross the Iron/Ashland county line, and about another mile greeted on the right side with a sign that says “Welcome to historic Iron mining district.” 77 bends around but right after that sign, on the right is Moore Park Road. Turn south on it, up hill. Camp Plummer as the Harvest Camp is called, is at the end of the long stretch on the right in a little cubby hole in the woods cut by the county, just before you take a full turn east and go down to Tylor Forks boat landing.