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Greenies vow to make mine owner ‘cower in fear’

By   /   July 9, 2013  /   76 Comments


THEY SAY NO: Protesters in Wisconsin brave the cold to stand Gogebic Taconite LLC’s plan to build a projected $1.5 billion iron ore mine in the state.


By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – Gogebic Taconite, LLC can tell you about the cost of doing business in Wisconsin.

The mining company, which has spent more than $350,000 lobbying legislators to ease the state’s mining regulations, recently hired private security guards to patrol the northern Wisconsin site where it hopes to build a projected $1.5 billion iron ore mine.

That added cost of doing business seems to be just what anti-industrialization, environmental group Earth First! intended.

“Making the preliminary stages of this mine as expensive as possible to send a clear message to financiers that this is an extremely risky investment is one strategy that was being pursued in the following action,” a blogger writing under the name “some wild coyotes” wrote on the Earth First! news site.

The blog recounted 15 protesters wearing bandanas for masks, building barricades to block police response to a planned protest. The blogger wrote that protesters jumped “on trucks and the collection tank and threw pieces of equipment like pickaxes, fire extinguishers, and shovels down the hillside into the thick of the woods. Fences were knocked over and broken and personal cigarettes were raided out of one of the company vehicles as workers and the manager stood in awe.”

Welcome to Wisconsin, where court rulings and legislation have taken the backseat to, at times, violent political demonstrations led by protesters who insist “this is what democracy looks like.”

GTAC, as the mining company is known, brought in security guards weeks after the June 11 protest that ended with the arrest of Katie Kloth, or Krow, as she’s referred to on anti-mining websites. Kloth is accused of taking a geologist’s cell phone and camera. She faces a felony charge of robbery with the use of force and misdemeanor charges of theft and two counts of criminal damage to property.

The group aimed to hit GTAC where it hurts: the company pocketbook.

“We were able to inflict damages upon the company in the form of an entire day of labor costs through the disturbance and subsequent police reports that their workers had to spend their shift doing, as well as shatter their sense of security,” the blogger wrote.

“Another outcome of the protest is that Gogebic Taconite will be forced to hire private security for the company contracted to do exploratory drilling in the Penokee Range …. May the costs continue to be imposed and may the security guards and mining managers cower in fear.”

Make Them Pay: Environmentalists say they want to make Gogebic Taconite pay before the northern Wisconsin mine company has a chance to get development off the ground.

Make Them Pay: Environmentalists say they want to make Gogebic Taconite pay before the northern Wisconsin mine company has a chance to get development off the ground.

The environmental group, labeled eco-terrorists by the FBI, supporters of the mine project and defenders of private property rights, got its wish — in the form of mercenary soldiers dressed in camouflage gear and carrying machine guns.

Meanwhile, Iron County’s deputies worked overtime to monitor the June 11 protests. GTAC picked up that tab, according to the Iron County Sheriff’s Office. Wisconsin Reporter has submitted an open records request for those costs.

Perhaps adding insult to injury, lawmakers who opposed the new mining regulations publicly called on GTAC CEO Bill Williams to reconsider his strategy to protect the company’s private property.

“These kinds of security forces are common in third world countries but they don’t belong in Northern Wisconsin,” Sen. Bob Jauch, D -Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, wrote in a letter to Williams on Monday.

Jauch and Bewley asked Williams to “immediately remove the heavily armed masked commando security forces” hired to protect GTAC property.

Scott Manley, a lobbyist at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, said the lawmakers “shouldn’t insert themselves into that level of business decision making” and wonders why they weren’t as vocal in condemning the violent protests.

“If Wisconsin gains the unfortunate reputation that your economic activity is going to be disrupted by radicalists, that will absolutely impact investment decisions in a negative way,” Manley said. “The disruptive activities of what I think could be called eco-terrorists, they’re purposely trying to disrupt pre-permitting work and that definitely gives us a black eye. If it becomes pervasive it would become a factor for businesses.”

Manley contends it’s not unusual for a business to hire security and that patrolling acres of woods differs vastly from guarding a front door at a hospital or manufacturing plant.

ON GUARD: A contracted armed guard patrols the northern Wisconsin land owned by Gogebic Taconite, the company that proposes a $1.5 billion mine in the Penokee Range.

Among Northwoods residents, most of the attention seems to have been generated through anti-mining environmentalist bloggers and media coverage, a tactic promoted at a recent workshop by Central Wisconsin Action Camp, another environmental activist group that aims to block the mine.

Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk told Wisconsin Reporter he hasn’t received any complaints from residents about the armed, masked men.

“A lot of the situation seems to be lacking a sense of fairness,” said Leslie Kolesar, an Iron County board member. “GTAC has a right to protect their company. It’s the prudent thing to do.”

She said the county maintains a positive working relationship with the mining company as the board continues to draft a local zoning ordinance for mining. It recently sent an initial proposal back to committee for more work.

“We expect people to sue from any angle they can get at. We need to make sure our processes and ordinances are air tight,” she said.

The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa chairman Mike Wiggins Jr. announced in March the tribe had established a legal defense fund for future litigation. The tribe has ceded territory north of the potential mine site and can set its own water quality standards that can limit the pollution of their rivers and streams from sources outside the reservation.

Neighboring Ashland County recently approved an ordinance that requires a mining company to obtain a special-use permit. The ordinance requires the company to pay $100,000 to the county for an administrative fee fund, with potential future payments if the balance in the fund drops below $50,000.

Bob Seitz, a spokesman for GTAC, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Ashland County passed “an open checkbook” and that the ordinance, as passed, was “unnecessary and maybe impossible to meet.”

Seitz did not return several calls from Wisconsin Reporter.

Kolesar says Iron County would avoid some of the more burdensome language in Ashland County’s ordinance. Ultimately, though, she hopes representatives from the two counties and the towns of Anderson and Morse can come to an agreement in the Joint Mining Impact Committee that would supersede local ordinance.

“You can’t fault the counties for looking for money somewhere,” she said. “Iron County’s entire budget is under $11 million. One of our other problems is we can’t get to the money in the (state) Mining Investment and Local Impact Fund because there’s no committee. We have to worry about legal expenses and we don’t really have any resources without that fund.”

The stated purpose of the fund is “to distribute moneys from the Mining Fund to local units of government to defray socioeconomic and environmental costs of metallic mineral mining.”

At the end of 2012, the fund had a balance of $205,000 according to the state Department of Revenue.

However, new appointments have not been made to that board. Officials from the Department of Administration and the Department of Revenue did not immediately respond to requests for information in regard to reorganizing the board.

GTAC is required to make three $75,000 payments to the Mining fund, which is supposed to offset costs to the local governmental units. The first was supposed to be made after the company filed a notice of intent in June.

Contact Ryan Ekvall at rekvall@wisconsinreporter.com


Ryan Ekvall uncovers government waste, fraud and abuse for Wisconsin Reporter. His work has appeared at Reason, Fox News and Human Events.


    Why is the people in this state paying cops to turn a blind eye to this terrorist action? Blocking roads to slow police response is an act of terror no matter how you look at it.

  • plankbob

    A person who thought logically would surmise that an out-of-state multinational corporation ripping open Wisconsin with the world’s largest open pit iron mine while polluting the air and water is the real act of eco-terrorism. Ryan Ekvall drinks the right-wing Kool-Aid once again.

  • Rob Ganson

    First, the handful of people who acted foolishly in June do not represent the people of the area of the mine. For over two years the people standing against the project have been working peacefully within the system to protect our neighbors from the mercury, sulfides, etc. that would poison the entire watershed. Second, the entirety of the proposed mine is in the ceded territory. Third, you did not have permission to use that photo. Fourth, there has never been an open pit taconite mine or any mountaintop removal mine that did not cause grave environmental damage. Fifth, the mining company has said they would bus in workers for the construction phase, use qualified operators from elsewhere rather than train locals to run the mine, and would adhere to the Cline no union policy.

  • SarahMartines

    The people in this state aren’t paying for this. GTac is paying for these mercenaries (they are NOT cops, they’re from an out-of-state security company). What the people of this state, at least of impoverished northern Wisconsin, are paying for is countless committee and board meetings to address issues the new mining bill and GTac have forced upon us. This limited liability company is now damaging our tourism industry with this latest foul play.

  • jacklohman

    Perhaps if we had public funding of campaigns, Gogebic Taconite would not OWN our politicians and they’d hire qualified and disinterested scientists to study the safety of mines, rather than just pocketing their campaign cash and shoving this on the public. Maybe huh?

  • Concerned

    I think you have to go back to the beginning, look objectively at who wrote this NEW mining bill, who voted for it, how it differs from the old mining bill and how it was pushed through. Then look at the county board-who is actively pro mine, or impartial. Ms. Kolesar is not on the County Board. She is on the Mining Impact Committee. I used to believe that local government was to be impartial and do what was best for all the citizens in their communities. How naive I was. I am not discounting anyone’s intelligence on the local governments, but I question their motives. I do not think you can blindly trust this big corporation that is only here to make money. They are only looking out for their interests, not the locals. It’s a very emotional and heated issue. The environmental impacts need to be addressed. The waste from this proposed mine is to go on County land and ultimately the county will be responsible for it long after the mining company is gone. Who is responsible for the environmental impacts then–Iron County. Does Gtac have a right to protect their equipment-yes, are camouflaged men hiding in the woods with semiautomatic assault rifles appropriate- I don’t believe so.

  • SarahMartines

    “The mining company, which has spent more than $350,000 lobbying legislators to ease the state’s mining regulations…”
    The true wording should be more along the lines of: The mining company spent more than $350,000 paying off corrupt legislators to pass an environmentally irresponsible mining bill. This bill was passed against the collective will of Wisconsin citizens, the overwhelming majority of who testified against its environmentally destructive and irresponsible content.

  • Henry Cornett

    Sixth, why should we believe a word you just wrote?? You have no proof to back it up. Seventh, may you get a splinter from the next tree you hug.

  • SarahMartines

    The people in this state aren’t paying for this. GTac is paying for these mercenaries (they are NOT cops, they’re from an out-of-state security company). What the people of this state, at least of impoverished northern Wisconsin, are paying for is countless committee and board meetings to address issues the new mining bill and GTac have forced upon us. This limited liability company is now damaging our tourism industry with this latest foul play.

  • Michelle Houghtaling

    Yeah, humanity doesn’t need no steenking jobs! We get checks from SSI! And humanity doesn’t need no steenking iron either, we can use “sustainable” foreign species of wood products, which are “sustainably” farmed, not carefully husbanded local species that are unsustainably grown in our “unsustainable” forests!! Meet me later, we’ll talk about the bridge I have for sale.

  • Rob Ganson

    Seventh, everything I reported is public knowledge, proven, and I TOOK the stolen photo. Try out the cool new invention called google.

  • Rob Ganson

    You may get checks from SSI, but I work for a living, work in a tourism industry that would be ruined by a mining company that resisted efforts to get them to hire locals.

  • Franseenit

    When we look like the Appalachians don’t ask “how did this happen?” Those who support this travesty are to blame for the devastation that will occur throughout Wisconsin by the iron, sand mining, the selling off of Wisconsin to the Koch’s, the dismantling of our once envied educational system, the pothole highways, the damning of the population to poverty because of “right to work” laws – what devastation Walker has wrought on Wisconsin
    For all you folks that think “right to work” is a good policy – it means you as a worker have no rights, plain and simple. It really means the employer has the right to hire, fire, cut wages and benefits at any time, re-adjust your schedule with impunity, fire and re-hire lower wage workers when the mood hits them. Sorry, I got off track.
    Gogebic is the scourge of the environment – they have no right to bully their way into our state – with the assistance of course of those who will not be affected by the damage they will leave behind for us to rebuild, the water aquifers that will take millions of years to regenerate. The idiocy of these takeovers boggles the mind of sane people.

  • Susan Abts Willems

    complain there r no jobs, get jobs & complain because of the type of jobs, I am very confused. with todays better this & that, they cant do clean mining?? I don’t know of mining enough BUT as a child we visited mines in the UP & other areas, proud of our mines as well. I have a question to ask, if you don’t want iron mines, coal mines, ect… please protest by removing all from you life… protest by not supporting them, and you might think about removing iron from you homes, cars, jobs, ect… right?? just being the devils advocate here is all, 3 sides to every story, yours, theirs & the truth…

  • Susan Abts Willems

    may I ask where does the mercury & other stuff come from? natural or added?? I really must do mining research…

  • Susan Abts Willems

    I need to do much more research after reading all the comments I am more confused than ever.

  • mblodge

    Do any of you live near there. If you did you would know mines including open pit style have been around that area for a long time. There was no mercury or sulfides throughout Wisconsin or the U.P. The other thing is if the Sheriff’s departments did there job GTC would not have to had hired armed guards. If someone came on your property without your permission you would hope the Sheriff would arrest that person not just say it is ok because you had a beef with the land owner, no it is ILLEGAL to TRESPASS no matter what the circumstances. Might as well set aside all the laws in the name of protest and allow anything to happen. Oh if all the people that had to work and believe in the mine were there to protest those opossed would be sent home. Must be nice not to have to work for a living to spend all your time protesting. GO GET A JOB and DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE instead of getting a free handout.

  • Rob Ganson

    Mercury is naturally occuring, so we have a problem with it already, but tailings from taconite mining brings it up to leach into the watersheds from tailings piles, etc. Google mercury levels in babies in the Lake Superior basin for more info.

  • Susan Abts Willems

    TY so much for this info, I will do more research on this & ty for the tip.

  • Susan Abts Willems

    to ask which photo was stolen?

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    These environmentalists need to be “taught a lesson” by big burly miners then made to “disappear” down some old mineshaft. Its high time the greenie wackos and tree-huggers be shut down…for good.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    You’re the kind of bunny-hugger that’s ruining America and threatening MY livelihood. I could care less about environmental impacts or bugs and birds.

  • Chantecler

    My suggestion is that the protesters stop using all forms of iron, steel, and any other products that would come out of this mine. Metal’s have to come from somewhere, and I expect the same problems would apply no matter where the ore is found. What makes northern Wisconsin any more important than somewhere else? At least then they would not come across quite so hypocritical.

  • Rob Ganson

    Do some research. The mines in the U.P and Minnesota are environmental disasters, the towns around them poor. My property? The Mining company does not own the property, and it is open to the public. I do live here, and there has never been an open pit or mountaintop removal mine near here. If this was to be a shaft mine, I might feel differently. BTW, there are both mercury and sulfides in those hills, well documented by geologists. Those pukes with machine guns surrounded my wife and I Saturday while we were hiking on land open to public hiking. Don’t pretend to be an authority on things you obviously know nothing about.

  • Rob Ganson

    The one of the puke with a machine gun. He was one of three surrounding me, my wife, and three friends, hiking on land open to public hiking.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    You communist bums are endangering the American economy..taconite is NEEDED for steel. The rest of the nation and its industry outweigh your little “ecosystem”. I bet you voted for Obama, too. Too bad Scott Walker cant step in and issue some EOs that stop this environmental madness and allow resources to be fully used. God I hate you bunny-huggers and ecoterrorists

  • Susan Abts Willems

    ic, as I have had many pics used by AP & they don’t pay to use photos but make u sign a million things to use ones photos….

  • Chantecler

    Baloney. Nobody in their right mind believes that knee-jerk garbage.

  • mrk10

    Looks like the eco terrorists are the ones crying like babies, and
    politicians (paid by them), condemning the presence of “heavily armed
    personnel” on the area, failing to say (of course), that as the local
    law enforcement did NOTHING to stop the eco terrorists from harassing
    and damaging their property, the mining Company had no choice but to hire
    security. I guess for some people (those that know best), no jobs and
    people struggling is worth it, if they can save a bug or a plant. Love a
    snail, make people starve!

  • Franseenit

    You are a prime example of the people with their head in the sand that don’t think past their next paycheck, don’t think of contaminated water – what do I do next? Time to wake up. There is nothing ‘knee-jerk’ about my comment.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    Bravo…you get it. I’m a railroader, and this insane war on coal is threatening my livelihood. Our #1 customers are the coal mines in the Appalachians and that idiot 0bama and his greenie weenie base are going to kill all of that….all because of the HOAX of glo”bull” warming!

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    And your jobs are trumped by ours. get a REAl job and make money with the mines and their related industries.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I go through the Appalachians all the time at the head end of coal trains. The region is still breathtakingly beautiful. I wouldn’t recommend going there for any of your environmental BS, either….those moonshiners will shoot anyone coming around their stills.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    Sounds like you were TRESPASSING on private property…..but lefties are all liars.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    Jobs and progress are more important, you communist

  • Franseenit

    You certainly get the prize for bully of the day!! When your job negatively impacts others lives we all need to do some collective brainstorming instead of screaming louder just to protect your own corner of the earth – we are all here together. The world is NOT ONLY ABOUT YOU. Try to remember that – you want everyone to have a job, reinvent themselves immediately when they lose a job – well, if your job is cut try to remember that and don’t forget not to blame anyone else but yourself. Have a nice day.

  • Chantecler

    As you see it. Which makes no difference to me.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson

    I kinda like what I do…its all I EVER wanted to do…and I’ll be damned if I let some elitist environmentalist wackos threaten it because of their BS. Bully? No toots….just a REAL working man who doesn’t believe in or care about ecobullcrap….which is essentially leftie communist anticapitalism

  • Charles Bohlman

    Yes. Brilliant. Let’s use tax dollars to elect people to decide what to do with our tax dollars. Only a lib…

  • Charles Bohlman

    You don’t live anywhere near Iron County do you?

  • Charles Bohlman

    A machine gun. Oh, my! That sounds serious. Where do you suppose he got that?

  • jacklohman

    Do you know math? Do you have any idea what the “private funding of campaigns” is costing the taxpayers? About 10 times what public funding would cost! I’ll take the latter, thank you.

    And only a lib??? Think again. I voted for Bush twice, McCain and Romney.

  • jacklohman

    see above

  • com1ment

    Those are public access lands. Get your facts straight before you post. Otherwise it is you who lies.

  • com1ment

    Wow, sounds like we have an expert here.

    And how dare the people living there determine what is done with their lands and waters.

  • com1ment

    The out of state legal fiction and it agents “need” money from the takings they hope to impose.

    Again, a big expert on the economics and sourcing of iron.

  • com1ment

    Give us JJOOBBBSSSS. Do whatever you please, where ever you please. PLEAASSEEE give us JOBS !

  • com1ment

    When the proposals and actions of employers, wealth seekers, would do more harm than good, it is up to all of us to prevent it and find other ways.

  • ocschwar

    The pice of iron ore is in multiyear lows right now. Indicates that taconite is NOT in fact “needed.” Also indicates that the only way to make money digging it out is to cut corners every possible way.

  • just the facts

    CHARLESTON, WV — “Mountaintop-removal mining
    continues to damage the environment long after regulators sign off that
    mine sites have been properly reclaimed, according to a new report
    from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. GAO investigators
    found that mountaintop removal damages water quality, reforestation
    efforts need improvement, and mine operators often do not comply with
    the approximate original contour reclamation requirement. And in a
    68-page report to Congress, the GAO said federal and state regulators
    could do more to limit the damage and to ensure mine operators are held
    financially responsible for cleaning up industry messes,” Ken Ward,
    Jr, Charleston Gazette.

  • jess the facts maam

    Coal Workers Lose Pensions As Execs At Bankrupt Company Get Bonuses

    By Alan Pyke on May 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Wednesday, a bankruptcy judge in St. Louis freed a bankrupt coal
    company from its contractual obligations to retired miners. Judge Kathy
    Suratt-States explained that Patriot Coal could not be held to its $1.3
    billion in pension obligations because the laborers who incurred those
    obligations shared in the responsibility for the company’s failure:
    “There is likely some responsibility to be absorbed for demanding benefits that the employer cannot realistically fund in perpetuity,” she wrote.

    Two weeks prior, Judge Suratt-States approved Patriot Coal’s request to pay $6.9 million in retention bonuses, concentrated on “the company’s top 35 officers,” Bloomberg reported.

    Patriot Coal was spun off from Peabody Energy in 2007, as part of a
    wave of spinoffs that the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) says was
    designed to get large pension obligations off of Peabody’s books. One
    retired Peabody miner, Joe T. Brown, summed it up in an interview with
    Wyoming Public Media: “I depend on them to pay my medical, it was in
    the contract,” Brown said. “I never worked for Patriot, but Peabody promised this to me, and I earned it. I worked for them for 33 years.”

  • jess the facts maam

    This old hammer killed John Henry

    But it won’t kill me, it won’t kill me.

    Well that’s enough for now, Terrence, maybe you should go take your valium now.

  • jess the facts maam

    Oh, sorry, not done with you yet. BTW, do you have stock in Nabisco?

    Laurence Tureaud had grown up on Chicago’s South Side in the Robert
    Taylor Homes, home then to the largest concentration of poverty in
    America. Degraded housing stock, high levels of environmental
    pollutants, and the residents’ lack of money and inadequate access to
    healthcare had turned this space and other public housing projects
    across urban America into asthma zones. In the projects of Chicago,
    African Americans were almost five times more likely to die of asthma
    than whites

  • Guest

    They should change the title to Local Land and Business Owners to more accurately reflect the truth.

  • Angelica

    The photo caption should say local property owners to more accurately represent the views of the people of Northern WI and not that of the special interest in the state and the nation.

  • ocschwar

    If you don’t care about what your actions do to your neighbor’s property, maybe your livelihood SHOULD be impacted.

  • ocschwar

    I got friends who make a living helping clean up the messes people like you leave behind. Not an easy job at all. Y’all are worse than toddlers with the runs.

  • ocschwar

    Looks nice. But don’t drink the water. It’s so contaminated with heavy metals it’s become to emain reason kids in the Appalachians have terrible teeth.

  • ocschwar

    So, you like what you do, and you don’t give a damn if what you do poisons the wells of people living around you? Is your real name Don Blankenship?

  • ocschwar

    You gonna try, cupcake? You gonna win a Darwin Award.

  • Terrence Jeffrey Johnson


  • Chantecler

    Here is a quote from a good friend of mine, a retired mining engineer and also a Christian minister: “I think the possibility of any contamination of the
    groundwater is very remote. I have worked in and lived around open pit mines for
    nearly 60 years and have experienced no problem.”
    And here is a quote from the head of a citizen’s group in the U.P. of Michigan:
    “Anywhere a mine is planned, the same resistance is met from the radical
    environmentalists. They are extremely difficult to reason with and
    usually use highly emotionally charges methods to meet their ends. They
    are not at all concerned with facts and “truths” about the
    environmental issues and regularly fabricate their “own facts” to suit
    their goals.”
    Certainly environmental standards need to be met, but the radicals should not be allowed to shut down miners who meet those standards based on their paranoia and scare tactics. My friend has lived around open pit iron mines for some 60 years with nary a problem.

  • ocschwar

    If you’re a mining engineer, you will indeed experience no problem. If you’re a downstream resident, however, you may indeed experience a problem. Especially if the mining is done in an area loaded with pyrite.


  • Billy the Kid

    These shit heads are against jobs.

  • Billy the Kid

    Do you know anything about Lobbying at all? Leftys spend far more to influence voters than do right wingers. Need I mention George Sorus.

  • IronRanger218

    I have lived next to an open pit mine my whole life. No problems here and I live down stream. What do you have to say about that?

  • barb

    It is just impossible to believe that some people think they can just do whatever they want without consequences. “They” have no right to block roads or do whatever just because they do not agree with progress. Just like what happened in Madison over ACT 10, these people have no regard for rights of others…or decency to act with decorum and go about their business in a “legal” way. Security guards seem to be necessary in this case.

  • Chantecler

    There are plenty of people in the area of the mines who want them, as they will provide jobs and opportunities. It is the out of town radicals who are pushing the protests by and large. If the locals provide the required zoning and the people don’t like it, then let the recalls begin. Until then, the out-of-towners should stay out of something that is not their business.

  • ocschwar

    Is that why the GOP decided to hold the hearings on this bill in Kenosha? On the exact opposite end of the state? Is taht why the state rep for the area is opposed to the mine? Because people here support it? This mine will not provide jobs for anyone except the miners who will be brought in. There are no dragline operators in Ashland sitting and waiting for it to open. The only other jobs will be for janitors in the mine office.

  • ocschwar

    There’s an open mine next to your parents’ basement? Where is this? We’re talking about the Penokees here. Where the rock is loaded with pyrite and there is no way to open a pit mine and not destroy the area with acid pollution.

  • ocschwar

    These people have jobs farming, gathering wild rice, and catering to tourists. Jobs that this mine will destroy.,

  • Chantecler

    I don’t believe that for a minute, but wherever the miners are from they will spend money for all sorts of things in and around the community. Could it be the hearings were held elsewhere to minimize the rude interruptions from the eco-terrorists?

  • Old_Gringo

    If the “handful of people” do not represent the people in the area of the mine, why are they not voicing their disapproval of the antics of the “handful”?

  • Old_Gringo

    And just what do you do in “the tourist industry”? Guide the tree hugging thugs around the forest?

  • C Thru U

    Rob, your shrill tone typifies the behavior the “handful of people who acted” in June represent. Yours is the leadership they follow. It serves only your personal ego needs to attempt after the fact to distance yourself from “foolish” aka criminal behavior even as you plant the seeds of foolishness that these younger actors act out.

    Want to talk about pollution and genoicide? The dehumanizing, put-down, insulting stances Anglos model for tribal youths does more damage to their culture than you may care to appreciate. Krow’s post-adolescent cursing doesn’t offend against mature behavior because it lacks even a pretense of maturity. You on the other hand claim to distance yourself from her yet refer to someone you met in the woods – someone you know nothing about other than how he appeared to you in a singular context you entered with per-conceived, totalistic conclusions, that he is a “puke.”

    This “puke” and two of his coworkers “surrounded” (you say) you and four of your “hiking” pals. Feel very powerful do you? Why do you not come back to us with stories about how you engaged these three human beings, used your moral authority to find common ground from which you could plant seeds that might persuade? Or do you need an enemy to boost your own stature?

    What you do to provoke these impressionable young wannabe warriors like Krow is to validate need to feel morally superior to an enemy. You create an us versus them narrative, replete with shrill narrative that implies a life or death struggle. Then, you imply that your supposedly non-violent methods are so weak, all you can talk about is how “surrounded” you and your four friends felt by the first three armed guards you encountered. If your Ghandian method really leaves you feeling that weak and surrounded, if you come back from the woods with nothing more than new insults to hurl at people you don’t even know, as an impressionable young wanna-be adult, I might feel inspired to resort to adolescent rebellion against any convenient authority figure as well.

    Now, about this far into my dress down, you may be coming up with those old provocations. I must be from the other side. I may be an infiltrator. On the contrary, I’m probably more luddite, having flown fewer airline miles, having held zero contracts with banks (and having the lack of assets to prove it), having ridden 10s of 1,000s more bicycle miles than the average enviro activist. It’s your movement that let me down. While railing and ranting against the mines and politicians and wars, for decades, nay for more than a century, political activists have steered us toward elite systems while refusing to support rural development – I mean lobbing hollywood to pay for politcians that will endorse us as heroes in exchange for our vote instead of lobbying hollywood, Zappa and the rock-n-roll industry to pour its money into recovering rural lands for use in agriculture and as locally sustainable communities. No, your movement advances the Marxist myth that, until we control government and industry, we’ll never be able to walk the beauty way.

    Now, there’s enough hatred to go around here, you don’t need to be piling on any more. Over on the Wi for safe mining facebook page, there are images mocking Natives as too drunk to tell you about their proud culture, saying “Hippies, we shouldv’e killed ‘em off in the 60s”, offering T-shirts with targets for anti-mine protesters to wear. I can find as much from your anti-mining camp, which I can decide for myself is representative of your rhetoric. Of the many examples the one that sticks in my memory is that of an older man (I won’t call him a gentleman – he boasted of his new boxing gloves and was looking for a woman to spar with him) who commented on the Boston Marathon bombing. He spoke admirably of the “dedicated” young men who set the bombs, amazed that two “dedicated individuals” could bring “the empire to its knees.” He could as well have spoken about how the fallout of war — in the Cold War, in the Russian Revolution that relocated the bomber’s fore-bearers to Siberia, in the post-Cold-War rise of Islam-aligned militancy — had caused harm to the bombers and to their victims. He — and you — could admit that you don’t have a crystal ball or special powers to predict the future, and that your claims of “grave” harm resulting from the industrial activities you oppose is not consistent with a world in which life expectancy and quality of life has gradually improved, a world in which battlefield deaths have drastically declined.

    That alienates me. That discourages me from lending my aid to your cause. What’s more, it leaves me to wonder how long it will be before this Wisconsin anti-mining movement finds its own Anna Mae to out as an “infiltrator” — perhaps because that person knew too much about the movement’s violent underbelly and was moving in a different, more powerful direction — them blames that individuals demise on the FBI, as was the case with Anna Mae.

    There are enough people wandering around playing “sniff the nark” to make it unsafe for free thinking, self-motivated, independent individuals to align with our movement. Anything said or done that conflicts with the most shrill rhetoric at the edge of the above-ground arm of the movement may place a person at risk of being identified — by individuals all to ready to resort to name calling — as a “puke” or worse, as an infiltrator. If the criminal actions go beyond robbery (forceful taking of property such as a camera from another person) or felony interfering with communications (robbing another person of a cell phone), those amateurs who blame the rest of the world for their discomfort about modern culture may be inclined to blame anyone near them for their new fear of being caught rather than face the reality of a situation they brought by their own deeds. If and when that happens, these younger minds may rely in the continued tendency of anti-mining narrative to support their conclusions that violence against what they see as a mortal threat was their only option.

    Finally, I’ll note that the totalistic rhetoric of hatred represented in the conclusion that strangers in the woods are “pukes” and that no mine — anywhere, ever — has ever come close to offering nearly as much benefit to life as the harm you categorize as “grave environmental damage” simple lacks the ambivalent aspect required to bring opposition thinkers into a place where change is possible. I don’t see much evidence you’ve had experience with therapeutic methods that can change behaviors. No surprise, given the decades long trend of some political activists to treat medicine as an industrial product to which we have a right to access at a price we prefer, rather than as a sacred trust – or at least an understandable science – that we the people can practice at least with regards to behavioral science. And in that science of behavioral medicine, it’s not up to me, the therapist, to decide for you the patient whether or not you want to be an alcoholic. As a therapist, my job instead would be to get you to explore the risks and benefits of drinking (or mining) and tell you that only you can take the action. My job is to create an atmosphere of ambivalence where you can safely release your attachment (to alcohol or iron ore).

    However, if I have already concluded that you (the alcoholic client) are a “puke” and you’ll never change unless forced, I might as well resort to the drug war solution, which is apparently the popular favorite among marchers and anti-mining activists when it comes to mines – persuasion, science and the tedious processes of democracy don’t work because you’ve decided your fellow humans in that process are “pukes” who “surround you” even though you outnumber them. And you’re back the war on mining, which if you must know, when fought by Rob Ganson becomes mostly Rob Ganson’s war on Rob Ganson.

  • Carl

    Job 28:1-11 (New International Version)

    1 “There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. 2 Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. 3 Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness. 4 Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man; far from men he dangles and sways. 5 The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire; 6 sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold. 7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon’s eye has seen it. 8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there. 9 Man’s hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. 10 He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures. 11 He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light.


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