Penokee Hills Education Project
In a move that could delay GTAC project by years, the Army Corps of Engineers has declined the Wisconsin DNR's request to work together on a joint Environmental Impact Statement, because Wisconsin's new mining laws (set forth under AB1/SB1) differ too greatly from federal standards.

ee WPR's piece here for more information.
The below letter is going out to newspapers all across Wisconsin. This letter was not a project of Penokee Hills Education project; it was organized by Ros Nelson of Washburn and endorsed by the signatories below—mayors, landowners, business owners, farmers, professors, educators, local politicians, and many more.
December 16, 2013

Dear Editor,

According to Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Wisconsin mining and environmental laws under Governor Walker's watch have been written by Gogebic Taconite. GTac is proposing a 22-mile open pit taconite mine in the Penokee hills of Northern Wisconsin.

Given the irreparable damage that a taconite mine would do to the Penokee/Bad River watershed, which provides pure drinking water for thousands of people, and nourishes the wild rice of the Kakagon Sloughs, the public needs to know the kind of person who is behind this scheme.

According to the December 15, 2013 article by Wisconsin Citizens Media Coop (WCMC), legal action is pending against GTac's President, Bill Williams, for causing arsenic contamination in the groundwater while overseeing the Cobre Las Cruces (CLC) mine in Seville, Spain. Williams started work as Director of Cobre Las Cruces in January 2006, and seven months later, began extracting clean water and re-injecting wastewater back into the aquifer without the inspection certificate for the project (one of many violations). 

One result of the unauthorized operation was contamination of a local aquifer with arsenic-tainted water, including flooding wells at a nearby farm. Similar contamination (and loss of well water altogether) is anticipated for farmers and residents of Northern Wisconsin, should GTac prevail.    

Williams left Spain in 2010 to begin work for GTac and according to their now defunct website, he "managed all facets of the Cobre Las Cruces mining operation ..." In July 2011, at a presentation in Ashland, he referred to CLC as a successful example of mining. While claiming that new (still-not-revealed) technology would save the Bad River Watershed from the negative impacts of mountaintop removal, he was fully aware of the  impending legal action against him for severe environmental damage. 

Williams has exhausted three appeals in Spain and according to Ecologistas en Acción, is expected to be served by the courts as soon as the trial date is set.
Williams misled Wisconsin by failing to disclose the circumstances at CLC and lied by saying that CLC was a success. Along with lobbyists Bob Seitz and Tim Myers, GTac denies verifiable scientific evidence; discredits experts who warn of environmental disaster; hired an illegal (un-permitted) paramilitary to frighten citizens legally accessing managed forest land; and has bought off legislators in order to pass mining laws written by the company itself. Bill Williams and GTac have demonstrated criminal intentions and should not be allowed in the State.

We are hopeful that the people of Wisconsin care enough about their water and land that they will take action to repeal mining laws that have been put in place by what can only be termed eco-terrorists. For detailed background on this story, please access:

Sincerely yours, 

Larry MacDonald, Mayor of Bayfield, WI
Scott Griffiths, Mayor of Washburn, WI
Maureen and Mike Matusewic, Iron County, WI
Ted Gephart, business owner, Bayfield, WI
Gail Lemieux, Odanah, WI
Sally Kessler, Cornucopia, WI
Lynn Treadwell, West St Paul, MN
Dr. Lynn Carey, Germantown, WI
Cheryl and Ed Willett, business owners, Highbridge WI
Barbara With, Journalist, Madeline Island, WI
Mary Rehwald, Ashland, WI
Allie Raven, candidate for Bayfield County Board, Delta, WI
Ros Nelson, business owner, Town of Washburn WI
Kristy Jensch, business owner, Washburn, WI
Paul DeMain, Reserve, Wisconsin 
Mary Dougherty, Bayfield, WI
Bonnie Bergman, business owner, Marengo Lake, WI  
Michelle Heglund, Teacher, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School, Mellen, WI
Teresa J. Wagner, City of Washburn, WI
Gena Gephart, Bayfield, WI
Cherie Pero, Odanah, WI
Henry C. Cole, Washburn, WI
Donna and Rob Ganson, Town of Washburn, WI
Bobbi Rongstad, Gurney, WI
John M. Stewart, Ph.D., Northland College Professor Emeritus & Director Wolf Research Team, Washburn WI
Warren Anderson, Washburn, WI
Lynn Maday, Odanah, WI
Brian Kearney, Mellen, WI
Nick Vander Puy, Journalist, Iron County, WI
Cassie McCrow, Lac du Flambeau, WI   
Tracy Chipman, writer, Town of Washburn, WI
Ali Gephart, Bayfield, WI
Christopher LaForge, owner: Great Northern Solar, Port Wing, WI
Amy Kalmon, business owner, Ashland, WI
Suzan MacKenzie-Smith, business owner: Designer's Outlet, Ashland, WI   
Kathy Tenney, artist, Ashland, WI
Joseph Skulan, Lodi, WI
Cathy Miller, Brule, WI 
Bernie Winter, Brule, WI
Dr. Steve Birchall, Monona, WI
Steve Fiene, Madison, WI
John and Barbara McFarland, Manitowish Waters, WI
Kate Nolan, Monona, WI
Jon Gould, Naperville, IL & LaPointe, WI
Bob Gifford, Wisc. Green Party sustainer, Stevens Point, WI
Deb Lewis, Ashland, WI
Lori Liddell, Tomah, WI
Leonore Neumann, Tripoli, WI
Patricia M. Stewart, Town of Mason, WI
Marcie  Gephart, Bayfield, WI
Jayne Hogfeldt RN, Poplar, WI
John  Endrizzi,  Nekoosa, WI
Mary Gardner, business owner, Bayfield, WI
Amy Wilson, Port Wing, WI
Susan Hall, Town of Washburn, WI
Martha Cole, retired educator, Washburn, WI
Sharon Stewart, Washburn, WI
Tom Galazen, farm business owner, Town of Bayfield, WI
RIchard Knopf  Pepin, WI 
Elizabeth Bader, Marengo, WI
Jordan Grunow, Marengo, WI
Howard D. Paap, Bayfield, WI
Ashleigh Koenigs, Milwaukee, WI
Marjean Moore, Pardeeville, WI
Jenny Gourdoux Newell, Oshkosh, WI
Kathy Waldo Browning, Lake Ann, MI
Gene Lemmenes, Herbster, WI
Marla Henseler, Webster, WI
Betsy Wilcox, Madison WI
Rose Lynd, Tomahawk, WI
Jim Sommerville, Milwaukee, WI
Dr. Paula Mohan, Lecturer, Madison, WI
Sibley Stonehorse, Odanah, WI
James Patterson, La Pointe Town Supervisor, La Pointe, WI
Bruce Noble, Madison, WI
Jim Brennan, Lake Galilee,WI
Jim Radtke, Bayfield, WI
Marco Good, Grand Marais, MN 
Bernie Schlafke, Madison, WI
Jeannie Endrizzi, Nekoosa, WI
Nicholas Nelson, La Pointe Town Board, La Pointe, WI
Melanie Stricker, Mellen, WI
Marika Bader-Grunow, Marengo, WI
Nancy Foudray, Viola, WI
Sue Decker, Eau Claire, WI
Sally Lacy, Germantown, WI
Julie Cuccia-Watts, Watertown, WI
Diane Marie, La Pointe, WI
Debra Topping, Cloquet, MN
Greggory Jennings, Ashland, WI
Hattie Greylord, Neenah, WI
Norma Bader, Marengo,WI & Peoria Hts., IL
Susan Crane Brantwood, WI 
Debbie Reinertson, Saxon, Iron County, WI
Wayne Toske, Mukwonago, WI
Connie Flonnes, Trego, WI
Mary Jo Walters, Madison, WI
Martin Curry, Town Board Supervisor, La Pointe, WI
Teresa Albrecht, Amherst, WI
Melanie Weberg, Osceola, WI
Cathy Miller, Brule, WI
Jeanne Johnson,  Stevens Point, WI
Mary Lee Maki  Little Chute, WI    
Barb Arnst New Richmond, WI
Justus Grunow, Ashland, WI
Mark Hanson, Cambridge, WI
Steve Sohn, Mellen, WI
Jane Hudalla, Osceola, WI  
Gene Cichon, Ashland, WI 
Linda Accola Atkins, Prairie du Sac, WI
Brenda Burns RN BSN, Fond du Lac, WI
Pat Nash, Baraboo, WI
Greg Lindquist, Highbridge, WI
V. J. Link, tax-paying Wisconsinite, Madison, WI  
Erik Schyvinck, Stevens Point, WI
Marsha and Gary Beggs Brown, Kewaunee, WI
Pam Fischer RN, Green Bay, WI
Nancy Tabake-Stencil, Wausau WI
Monday morning, the Iron County Forest and Park Committee voted unanimously to recommend eviction of the LCO Harvest Education and Learning Project (also known as Harvest Camp). They will make their recommendation to the full county board on Tuesday the 17th, at which point the county board will hold a vote.

HELP was established at the proposed mine site in April 2013, and has since welcomed thousands of visitors while conducting research projects, community outreach and education. Paul Demain, HELP spokesperson, was quoted on public radio saying that there will be resistance if eviction is attempted.

HELP is hosting a feast on Tuesday at 4:00pm, and will then gather at the Iron County Board Meeting in Hurley at 6:00pm. Everyone is welcome.

For more information and directions to the Harvest Camp, visit the LCO Nation website. The County Board meeting will be held at the Iron County Courthouse at 300 Taconite Street, Hurley, WI. 

Geologist Marsha Bjornerud of Lawrence University has confirmed the presence of grunerite, a mineral containing dangerous asbestos-like fibers, in multiple locations across the proposed Penokee mine site. If disturbed, the asbestiform fibers have the potential to become airborne and cause lung cancer, like asbestos.

The grunerite was initially discovered by Northland College Professor Tom Fitz two months ago. Only a month ago, Gogebic Taconite claimed that it was "unlikely" that these fibers exist at the proposed mine.

Read the WPR news report here, along with an audio report, maps, and photos of the grunerite:

Grunerite is the crystalline structure in the center of this chunk of rock. Photo credit Tom Fitz.
Despite the fact that GTAC's bulk sampling application is still incomplete, and that neither the DNR nor the public has yet seen GTAC's responses to the DNR's Aug 13, public comments are due by September 3rd. They should be emailed to

For more information, see

A list of suggested talking points is below.
You are invited to attend the First Annual Penokee Hills Education Summit and Potluck Harvest Feast and Pow Wow taking place September 20 – 21, 2013 at the Whitecap Resort in Upson, Wisconsin.

The purpose of the Summit is to offer an experiential, educational, and community-building opportunity to learn about the Penokee Hills, the Bad River Watershed and Lake Superior, and how we can stand united in defense of the water.

This two-day event will include a tour of the Penokees, a visit to LCO Harvest Camp, educational addresses and keynote speakers, music, dance, and local food!

For a complete schedule of events and presentations, and registration information, visit Register early!
This Thursday, 8/15/13, the Wisconsin DNR will be holding a public hearing on GTAC's application for bulk sampling and preapplication intent to mine. The hearing will be held at Hurley High School, 5503 West Range View Drive, Hurley, WI, from 10am until 8pm. Informative presentations by DNR staff will be conducted at 10:00am and again at 5:00pm, with public testimony all day. You are encouraged to submit spoken or written comments at the hearing.

Under Wisconsin's new mining legislation, public hearings are few and far between. This is one of them. It is critical that as many people as possible attend in support of our water and land.

If you are unable to attend in person, written comments may also be submitted to Larry Lynch, DNR, 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53707, or by e-mail to Deadline for written comments is September 3.

Prior to the hearing, a rally will is being held at at 9:00am outside the high school. Please bring signs and posters.

Finally, a group will be biking to the hearing from Ashland. If you want to join the bikers, meet at the parking lot behind the Ashland Baking Company at 5:00am, and bring small signs you can affix to your body and/or bike.

More information:
Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin 

Penokee Hills Education Project

CONTACT: Frank Koehn for Immediate Release

TELEPHONE: 218.341.8822




March 29, 2013: Ashland, Wi: The Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin —Penokee Hills Education Project announces the Grand Opening of their new offices in downtown Ashland, Wisconsin Friday, April 5, from 5 pm - 9pm. at 616 West. Main Street.

Formerly the home of Heart Graphics, the new building will allow the organization to have a base of operations from which to continue providing accurate and educational information to area residents on mining issues that impact the state, but particularly the Lake Superior region.

On March 11, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law contentious mining legislation that was overwhelmingly vetoed by the citizens of the state. This law was meant to pave the way for an out-of-state, multinational corporation to begin mining in the Penokee Hills. The first stage of the plan calls for a 4-mile open pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine that would go 1000 feet deep, built at the headwaters of the Bad River watershed. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) admitted after the bill passed the senate that it allows the mining company to contaminate the water.

The Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization.  Our mission is public education, networking, and grassroots organizing on the environmental, health, social, and economic issues of mining that disproportionately affect Native and rural populations. The Penokee Hills Education Project is an education and outreach project of the Mining Impact Coalition and is focused on issues related to the proposed development of iron mining in northern Wisconsin.

Make sure your voice is heard! If you cannot attend the public hearing on the Mining Bill SB1, you may be registered in the public record by sending a written statement along with someone attending the hearing or email Senator Tiffany at during the hearing on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013. To learn more about the bill you can also visit the WI League of Conservations Voters.

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