HURLEY — A small group of folks, some wearing masks of woodland animals, gathered Saturday in Hurley to protest a proposed iron mine near Upson, Wis.
Robert Menard of Ashland, Wis., spoke to the group of around 15 at the visitor’s center, warning them of the dangers of continuing an industrial society. The group then headed downtown to the offices of Gogebic Taconite.
G-Tac is conducting exploratory drilling at the site along the Iron and Ashland county line near Wisconin 77.
Menard, former undersheriff in Ashland County, said G-Tac’s proposed mine is just a very small part of what’s going on all over the world that continues to endanger the Earth. “It’s a last, desperate gasp to support an unsustainable lifestyle,” he said. “The industrial society is in its last days.”
Menard compared the proposed mining by G-Tac to the mining in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. Hurley will be downwind from the blasting, Menard said, and toxins and dust will cause an extreme increase in disease like in West Virginia.
In third world countries, mining protestors just disappear, said Menard. “We’re here to protect everybody.”
Sharon Homernik of Janesville, Wis., joined the protestors on Silver Street.
“Are the people here aware that Gogebic Taconite has never done this kind of mining before?” Homernik asked. “Do they know that the blasting will be done right next to a fault line that runs through Copper Falls State Park? To do something like this is a very dangerous experiment. If you abuse mother earth in this way, she will respond.”
When protestors marched downtown, chanting, “Protect the hills, stop the drills;” they were greeted by locals who were none to happy to see them.
A sign outside one Silver Street tavern read, “No public bathrooms: go pee in the woods you tree hugging b******s.”
“Regular working people like us need good jobs,” said Scott Salo, protesting the protestors.