Letter: Misconceptions about iron mining by Charles Gullan
I’m amazed at the content of the letters I see from the anti-Iron/Ashland County Iron Ore Mine people. Here is some of the stuff I’ve read:
“The sulfur and other dangerous minerals emitted will pollute the environment.” Sulfur is normally an insignificant product of iron mining. If it or any other mineral is present, it must be controlled under the permit process.
“The mine will pollute the water downstream of the mine.” I grew up on the Gogebic Range when the mines were operating and around 100 of them had operated mostly unregulated for many decades. The water was as good then as it is now. The rivers and streams were filled with native brook trout, as they are now. I’ve never lived in a better environment. We lived downstream from all the mines.
“The ore is too hard to get or no one will mine it.” Well, if that’s the case, there won’t be a mine to scare people about. I could go on with more “scare” stories.
Remember, before a mine can operate, it must pass an extensive permitting process, conforming to state and federal regulations by agencies such as the EPA, DNR and Army Corp of Engineers. Think now, how could one mine operating under today’s regulations pollute what 100 mines operating for decades could not?
Rather than address some mythical future pollutants, the anti-mining crowd should attack a real pollution problem that is occurring now and has occurred for at least a decade. The Bad River Tribe’s wastewater treatment plant had 241 violations from 2004 – 2008, the most in the Wisconsin. They have had 42 E. coli violations in the last five years. Their E. coli emitted has been as high as 5400 percent over the maximum allowed. They have had 36 phosphorus violations over the same period. They are still operating without a license. Isn’t it strange that the tribe leadership opposes the mine for unproven/mythical pollution reasons? Are they not extreme hypocrites at the least?
Whenever someone enters the Bad River Casino, they are contributing to pollution and possibly eating or drinking polluted food or water. One thing is for sure: they would be breathing smoke-filled air, as the casino allows indoor smoking. It is not a myth or scare that the second-hand smoke kills. Does the tribe leadership really care about people’s health? What kind of person would deny the people of the Northwoods so many good jobs, and the opportunity for their children and grandchildren to stay in an area they love? Is their hate for Governor Walker so deep, their environmental activism so radical, their lust for power so great, or their desire to have the Northwoods for themselves so selfish?
The people of the Northwoods are not prideless, public, parasites. They do not want to live on government handouts. They want to work hard at good jobs. They will not become Madison’s “Pet Rock.”
Let’s all get on board and support the mine and the 2,700 good jobs it will create. Let’s tell the naysayers to spew their baloney somewhere else.
Charlie Gullan, Eagle River