UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News) The company that's testing the feasibility of a new mine in northern Wisconsin is against the latest compromise for keeping protestors away. Lawmakers from both parties are getting behind a new proposal to give Gogebic Taconite a 300-foot protective circle around its mining-related activities, and a 50-foot buffer on an access road. The measure could be introduced as early as this week.
Moderate Senate Republican Dale Schultz says it would give everyone fair treatment -- and it would put the D-N-R in control of most of the area's public recreational land instead of the company. Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz says the compromise would not work, because it would not adequately protect workers who float around different parts of the site. After a vandalism incident on June 11th, Senate Republican Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst wanted to close all 3,500 recreation acres where the company has mineral rights -- but he couldn't round up enough votes to pass it. Critics called it an overreaction, and said it would punish law-abiding families who've hunted and fished on the site for years.
Tiffany says he's working on a more limited compromise to allow public use of the 3,500 acres during the November gun deer season, with a 50-foot buffer along trout streams.