Tribe's appeal of drilling turned down by WDNR


MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has denied an appeal from the Bad River Band to stop exploratory drilling near Upson.

Late last week, DNR waste management director Ann Coakley said the drilling will continue.

The Bad River Band of Indians contended the impact of drilling was not fully considered during the 10 days the DNR had to decide on whether or not to allow Gogebic Taconite to drill.

Coakley said G-TAc met all of the requirements of the law for exploration and there was nothing in the letter from the tribe to halt the drilling.

The company was issued a license to drill.

G-Tac’s drilling began last week, with the license allowing eight holes to be drilled. A confrontation resulted in a woman damaging a camera of a G-Tac employee and some property vandalism.

Tribal members continue to camp out near the site of the proposed iron mine and a walk of about 65 people to the mining area was conducted on Saturday without incident.

Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk said a three-mile hike from the Harvest Camp site to the G-Tac drilling site was peaceful.

Local law enforcement officers were on hand for the walk.

Furyk said law enforcement officers will continue to remain on the scene, but no major incidents are anticipated.

“Any time there is a large gathering of people, there is always a concern and a need to be prepared to ensure that the rights of all parties are respected,” Iron County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Paul Samardich said.

Furyk and Samardich thanked Hurley police, the Ashland, Vilas and Price County Sheriff’s Departments, along with Beacon and Mellen ambulance services for their assistance.


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