|Today's post was shared from The Pump Handle....|
The long-time residents of Iron County, Wisconsin who make up the Iron County Joint Impacts Mining Committee say the open-pit iron mine planned for the Penokee Hills of northern Wisconsin – a range that extends into Michigan where it’s known as the Gogebic Range – will bring much needed good jobs and economic development. Such jobs, the committee told a group of visiting journalists in August, have been lacking since the last Wisconsin iron mines in the area closed in the early and mid-1960s.
The jobs the mine would bring are the type needed to keep local communities’ young people from moving away, said committee members. Environmental advocates and other area residents, including many of the region’s tribal leaders, oppose the mine for what they say will be devastating impacts, particularly to the area’s waterways and wetlands.
The proposed mine made national news this summer after masked activists harassed mining company personnel and armed security guards were hired to patrol the property. There’s also been considerable controversy over a new law that was passed that will help facilitate the mine. What have not yet received much attention are the potential occupational health hazards of mining and processing the taconite ore the mine is expected to yield.
Now in the permitting and exploratory stage of development by Gogebic Taconite LLC – a subsidiary of a company called Foresight Energy that has coal mining operations in...