Apr 11, 2014

Wisconsin Town Bureaucrats Block Public Comment on Proposed Open Pit Mine

Kakagon/Bad River Sloughs - Photo Credit: Jim Meeker
Wisconsin municipal citizens and Native Americans concerned about the toxic destruction of habitat from proposed mines like Gogebic Taconite (GTac) are empowered by Wisconsin statute (293.33) to form local impact and joint committees in a display of local democracy at work.

Jeff Ehrhardt, Town of Morse and Bud Benter, Town of Anderson (chair and vice chair respectively of the Joint Mining Impact Committee Meeting) have different ideas about local democracy, seeing their function as running interference for GTac against local citizens concerned about the destruction of the Penokee Hills and the watersheds and wetlands that would be destroyed by the operation and construction of the proposed massive open pit mine.

Ehrhardt and Benter refused public questions from the floor of the April 9 Iron County, and Town of Morse (AAIM) Joint Mining Impact Committee meeting.

"So we hear the Town of Morse  no longer allows questions from the floor about the Penokee mountaintop removal. We are instructed to simply write our comments out and submit them to the mining company for them to answer at their leisure," writes Nick Vander Puy of Iron County in northern Wisconsin.

Vander Puy has more reason to complain than most as he is the target of a bizarre effort by Wisconsin State Sen. Tom Tiffany (Hazelhurst, Wisconsin) to have this environmental activist, Vander Puy arrested for voting on April 1, an effort knocked down as baseless and frivolous by Iron County attorney, Anthony Stella.

Vander Puy and a handful of activists are manning the Harvest Education Learning Project (HELP) in Iron County to educate the public, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the massive destruction GTac's proposed mine would inflict upon the habitats and environment in Iron and Ashland counties in far-northern Wisconsin, including Lake Superior.
This river would be devastated by the proposed GTac mine in northern Wisconsin.
Photo by Erik Schyvinck at Citizens Concerned about the proposed Penokee Mine

1 comment:

  1. Freedom of speech is the fundamental to our democracy. Denying citizens to comment undercuts democracy itself.

    Nick is a very honorable citizen who has an opinion that deserves attention.