Conflict With Mining Enterprises in Northern Wisonsin: Environment vs. Economy

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Imagine having a backyard where one had prime cross country skiing slopes, trickling streams and waterfalls, natural caves to go swimming and spelunking in, wetlands to go wild-ricing, fly fishing for trout, and mountains and valleys to take 5-day canoe portages and hiking adventures throughout, all near one’s own house. With the cool breeze and the abundant snowfall the often accumulates up near the Upper Peninsula, due to the lake effects of Lake Superior, there would never be a dull moment with the weather, either. Now imagine that being threatened by a billionaire tycoon who prefers to his business, mining, as just a game. For someone living in the northern counties of Wisconsin, this isn’t just a scenario, its reality. In 2011, Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) purchased mineral rights for the vast expanse of about 21,000 acres that run along 22 miles of the Penokee Mountain Range in the Iron and Ashland Counties of Northwestern Wisconsin. Working with lawmakers, billionaire Chris Cline, leader of GTAC, maneuvered around Wisconsin’s landmark mining moratoriums that had once kept Wisconsin’s land protected. These moratoriums had been placed originally after Wisconsin experienced how careless harvesting of the earth’s natural resources could change Wisconsin’s beauty into incorrigible devastation. It was in the 1960’s, that Wisconsin’s landmark mining moratoriums were placed on all mining done in Wisconsin. The moratorium purpose was ensuring that all mining done would be done responsibly in respects to Wisconsin’s wildlife, forests, land, and water. Nevertheless, GTAC was able to have legislation remove almost all of these mining regulations. Now, with these removed, there’s nothing that will watch over Wisconsin’s waters and forests ... ... middle of paper ... ...ta. MNdnr.org. 2011. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/mercuryandmining.pdf Bjornerud, Marcia, Knudsen, Andrew, and Trotter, Josh. Geochemical, mineralogical and structural characterization of the Tyler Formation and Ironwood Iron Formation Gogebic Range, Wisconsin. lic.wisc.edu. 31 July 2012. Web.1 Jan. 2014. http://www.lic.wisc.edu/glifwc/penoke/BjornerudGeologyReportJa n2013.pdf Fitz, Tom. ”Potential Physical and Chemical Environmental Impacts of Mining the Ironwood Iron Formation in the Bad River Watershed.” Bad River Watershed Association. 2012. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. http://badriverwatershed.org/index.php/learn/potential-­‐mine-­‐ information/potential-­‐impacts n.p. Penokee Hills Destruction Act of 2013: Summary. Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. 2013. Web. 4 Jan. 2014. http://www.wnpj.org/miningbill2013

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