Understanding mining issues at the root of county education initiative
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Voters will be asked in November whether Oneida County should allow the leasing of county-owned lands in the township of Lynne for the purpose of mining. But before the decision must be made, representatives of two county agencies are partnering to help voters understand the mining issues.
Stacey Johnson, executive director of the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation, and Myles Alexander with the University of Wisconsin-Extension Oneida County have announced a county mining education initiative aimed at providing county residents access to “unbiased, research-based information” on a number of topics.
The Oneida County Board approved a new mining ordinance and a non-binding referendum in June. Since that time Alexander said he and Johnson have secured funding for the three-month initiative and are finalizing the educational plan.
“We will provide unbiased information from neutral sources, using experts from many fields,” Alexander said, adding that he will bring resources from the university and other education partners. Johnson will focus on helping people understand the economic affect of mining in the county.
Information sources will come from experts and professionals in the areas of industry, education, business, environmental and government law, mine engineering and policy, hydrology, soils and geology, and others.
A website will be announced soon, as will a schedule of meetings, informative displays and table conversations that will be used as part of the education process.
Topics to be covered include providing information on the process of developing a mine at the Lynne township site compared to other sites in Wisconsin, the business of non-ferrous mineral mining, the mine permitting processes and timeline and possible short- and long-term environmental and economic impacts of non-ferrous mineral mining.
Funding for the initiative is from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. As part of the education initiative, an economic impact study on non-ferrous mineral mining in Oneida County will be conducted by the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy.