The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County board should aim to change lease


To the Editor:

At the citizens forum in Hurley a couple of weeks ago, Iron County Board members were filmed saying they don’t like public comment because they don’t want dirty laundry aired and stories in the newspaper. That’s why I was surprised to see board chairman Joe Pinardi’s criticism of Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk in the paper.

I agree with the county’s 14-day camping rule, but the harvest camp situation is more complicated. The county made an agreement to allow the harvest camp for a year. There are also federal treaties to consider. Can Furyk eject members from the harvest camp without a court order? This is complicated and volatile, and I applaud Furyk for keeping a level head and keeping the peace on Moore Park Road.

It’s hard to believe Pinardi is concerned about soil erosion when he signed a lease for over 3,300 acres of county land to be used as an area for stockpiles. Is he concerned with erosion from clear cutting or work being done at the proposed mine site? How about the foresters? Are they really concerned about erosion?

Why are taxpayers’ dollars being wasted on attorneys and special meetings over 5 acres near a proposed mine site? It is not about 5 acres of forest near a proposed open pit mine.

In the meantime, our county’s citizens are being torn apart by this proposed mine. That letter adds fuel to the fire.

We have a lease that needs to be reworked, there is a zoning agreement being drawn up that could be used for leverage to get back what we lost in the lease, the state has taken away the tonnage tax, and our Mining Impact Committee continues to spend tens of thousands with no relief in sight. I encourage county residents to search RGGS mining leases online to see the millions other landowners get paid for their leases, including royalties.

If board members are going to stop public comment in board meetings because they don’t like the county’s dirty laundry aired in the paper, why did he send in this letter? What’s really going on here?

It is time for our board to study the impacts of the mine, take a look at changing the lease and learn about water usage, taconite plants and ways to protect the citizens of Iron County instead of spending so much time and money on these 5 acres.

Michael Matusewic



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