As a relatively peaceful person, one whose work is to record and report on the beauty of our land, my stomach is churning & turning on a recently learned situation. It is happening in the state of Wisconsin – not the state of my home, but a state that is part of
my land – the United States of America. Actually, it’s not my land, for in essence we are but charged as stewards of the land.
And the situation I have learned about begs a discussion about our environment and our rights to destroy it and in the process, bring harm upon its inhabitants, including wildlife as well as people.
Here is the situation…
A mining company has been given permission to proceed with it’s first phase of bringing iron ore out of the ground in Wisconsin. According to reports by those feeling threatened – “The first phase of the mine alone could release 1.3 million tons of sulfur, as well as mercury, arsenic, copper, zinc, and phosphates (which cause algae blooms and fish kills), into Lake Superior tributaries.”
What’s Being Proposed?
Gogebic Taconite (G-Tac), a subsidiary of The Cline Group, has proposed a 4 ½-mile long open pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills of Northern Wisconsin. This would be the first phase of an eventual 22-mile strip of open-pit mining, stretching from west of Mellen, in southern Ashland County, to Upson, in Iron County. The land is privately-held managed
forest land, 35 square miles of rugged and unbroken north woods habitat, a migration corridor and natural carbon sink.
What’s at stake?
The mine area is at the headwaters of the Tyler Forks and Bad Rivers, which flow north into the Bad River Indian Reservation and empty into Lake Superior at the Kakagon Sloughs, the largest wetlands on Lake Superior and source of wild rice for the Bad River Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa) Tribe. The potential mining zone impacts more than 50 miles of streams and rivers, many of them designated trout streams. It is in the recharge zone of the Penokee Aquifer, which many residents rely on for clean drinking water.
I first learned about this when checking out the web site of fellow photographer journalist Dustin Zarnikow. He also has “Radio” listed amongst his Photography and Video activities. His radio interview of three professionals in Geology and Natural Resources is most interesting and chilling at the same time. Check it out.
Yes, I understand the issue of need for resources to produce our cameras, tripods, cars,
and computers. And no, I have not talked with the Mining Company. They have armed Guards at the access areas. Wonder Why?? That’s why I raise the questions. Let’s have the discussion.