August 23, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 198

Mining company shouldn't let negativity stop them

To the Editor:

I attended the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources public hearing on Aug. 15 in Hurley regarding Gogebic Taconite’s request for bulk sampling and pre-application notice for a mining permit.

I take exception with the Daily Globe’s front-page article on Aug. 16, “Many residents oppose Gogebic Taconite mine.” Between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon, I believe only two speakers actually resided in Iron County. The vast majority of speakers were from out of town or county, and many were from out of state.

One speaker was even from Arizona and said he owned property in Wisconsin, but did not state where the property was. There were speakers from Minnesota, Madison (of course), Iron River, Wausau, Rhinelander and other Wisconsin towns. Many of the speakers had their speeches well-rehearsed, as they have probably used them many times elsewhere and are opposed to mining and development, no matter where it’s proposed.

I’m sure that those opposing the mine all drove their cars (not prairie schooners) that are made of steel (hopefully produced in the United States and not imported from some country that hates us) to the meeting. I’m sure during the construction of the paved roads that they drove on to attend the meeting, a few mud puddles were filled in and a couple cattails were knocked down in the process, as well.

The WDNR is well-equipped to handle the permitting process, so let them perform their duties. If G-Tac does not cross all the “t”s and dot all the “i”s, the WDNR won’t issue the permits required to begin mining.

It’s the 21st century, folks. You can have clean water and a mine. It’s not an “either/or” proposition.

I’d also like the speakers unfamiliar with the history of the Penokee Hills to know that this area did not become “pristine” until well after the Hurley and Ironwood areas were almost “void” of trees from logging and providing timber to the hundreds of iron ore mines that used to dot the Penokee Range. The trees grew back and the landscape healed itself long before we had all the governmental agencies of today to ensure things are done correctly and repaired when the mining is complete.

I hope G-Tac doesn’t let all the negativity from outsiders frighten them away and they realize the silent majority of people in Iron County support their efforts, and what they will bring to the area.

Steve Johnson

Hurley