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home : opinions : our editorials September 14, 2014


7/10/2013 12:00:00 PM
Making a bad situation worse
The Rice Lake Chronotype

Frac sand mining in Barron County and throughout the region has been controversial, but controversy over a proposed iron ore mine northeast of here has ratcheted up to an extreme.
A company called Gogebic Taconite is proposing a $1.5 billion 4-mile long taconite mine east of Mellen. The area is on private forestland about 100 miles northeast of Rice Lake. It's on the boundary between Iron and Ashland counties. If developed, the project would likely include an open pit mine, a plant site and waste disposal facilities very near Lake Superior. The site would be the first metallic mine in Wisconsin since the closing of the Ladysmith mine in 1998.
The mining company is currently test drilling. Protestors have confronted workers and vandalized equipment. The Iron County Sheriff's Department estimates that damage totalled about $2,000. There was also an arrest of a woman following a scuffle over video recording on a cell phone.
In response to the protests, Gogebic has hired a security company to guard its sites. Photos of those guards show a masked man carrying an assault rifle.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, sent a letter to Gogebic Taconite president Bill Williams calling on him to immediately remove "the heavily armed masked security unit recently hired to protect the company's property in the Penokee Hills."
While the company has every right to protect its property, particularly following vandalism, its show of force escalates an already volatile situation. If guns are necessary at all, holstered handguns would be more than adequate if the need for a firearm arises.
This is a volatile situation. It's no secret that violence breeds violence. Both the protestors and the company need to stop and take a reality check. Further escalation could be disastrous.

[The editorials that appear weekly in this space are the views of the newspaper as determined by The Chronotype's editorial board. All editorials are written by one or more members of the board, which consists of Warren Dorrance, Sam Finazzo, Gene Prigge and Eileen Nimm.]

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Randall R. Kniess

I think it is appropriate that the mining company be prepared. The security team has not made the FBI watch list like the eco-terrorists have. The two politicians mentioned are working hand in hand with the special interest groups who are accustomed to carrying out vandalism, stopping jobs, and anarchy. The biggest one of the politicians ran for the border, rather than doing his job when he was elected to do so. So now he wants everyone else to run away? Shame on the convertible riding politician who hasn't the wind to walk, but only to talk.

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