On Monday a protest in opposition to iron mining in Wisconsin erupted at the DNR [Department of Natural Resources] office in Wausau. Subsequently, a banner stating “Do Not Resuscitate Iron Mining” was nailed to the roof. An additional banner was dropped off Hwy 51 in Wausau sending the message “No Penokee Mine – We Stand with the Bad River Tribe.”
On Wednesday a banner was hammered into the ground in front of a marquis welcoming a DNR conference in Stevens Point, reminding them to “Protect the Water.”
On Tuesday the DNR issued a statewide internal memo telling staff to be on the look-out for more actions in opposition to the Penokee Mine.
The Penokee Hills have been targeted by Gogebic Taconite for construction of what would be the world’s largest open-pit taconite [low-gradeiron ore] mine.
The Penokee Hills are the headwaters for the Bad River Watershed. The Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs, at the mouth of the Bad River Watershed on Lake Superior, have been designated a Wetland of International Importance, and are where the Lake Superior Ojibwe have harvested wild rice for centuries and continue to enjoy it as a sacred food today.
Under recently passed legislation, Wisconsin laws allow streams and lakes to be filled with waste rock from mining. Pyrite and other sulfide minerals in waste rock from this mine, exposed to water and air from blasting, would produce sulfuric acid that would put all living things in the watershed at risk.
On Thursday, May 16th, Gogebic Taconite applied or a permit to begin exploratory drilling as early as June 1st. The DNR now has the option to approve or deny it, though if they do nothing before May 31st the permit will be automatically approved.
If the DNR approves this permit, they will be selling out the communities of Northern Wisconsin and sanctioning the genocide of the Bad River Tribe. We call for actions at DNR offices all around the state – make your voice heard! No Penokee Mine!
Come visit the Penokee Hills! This Friday, May 24th, there is a benefit for the Penokee Hills Education Project at the Bad River Casino at 6pm. Stay for the weekend camp-out.