To the Editor:

As a former Ozaukee County resident now living up north, I share my concern about Wisconsin’s direction.

In June Gogebic Taconite filed intent to open a mountain top removal mine in the Penokees, and the rift between job seekers and environmentalists flared anew.

No one would debate the need for sustaining jobs, metal products, and clean water. How do we prioritize those needs? 50% of Wisconsin’s wetlands are gone. At what point do we draw the line? How many more wetlands can we afford to lose? If this mine can be built, potentially destroying the thousand-square-mile Bad River watershed, what’s next for your neighborhood? The Sheboygan River watershed?

We must draw that line now.

The Bad River watershed is one of the few remaining unspoiled areas flowing into Lake Superior from abundant pristine wetlands, naturally reproducing trout streams and seven major rivers nourishing wild rice and spawning walleye.

A world-wide glut of iron production has caused many U.S. mines to close or downsize.

The Penokee mine site contains toxic or polluting substances including asbestiform minerals and sulfides.

The touted 700 jobs number was recently halved and GTac has yet to even determine the viability of the mine.

The state laws revised to suit GTac have lured us down a path toward environmental deregulation that will not stop with this mine and will jeopardize the health, safety, and financial security of all Wisconsin citizens for generations.

Our Iron and Ashland County legislators understand and consistently vote for environmental protection. But other legislators consistently vote for the mining company and against that protection. It’s time to stop regressing; become informed and write your representatives. Most Wisconsin legislators are apathetic about a few votes in the North, but they will take notice if you get on board.

Wendy Thiede
Mercer, Wisconsin

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