MADISON — Gogebic Taconite’s announcement today that it is shuttering its Hurley office and ending its current efforts to build an open-pit iron mine in Northern Wisconsin comes as no surprise. From the first rumor of this mining company coming into Wisconsin’s Northwoods five years ago, there was no debating the significant risk to natural resources the mine posed.
The value of the Northwood’s wetlands, trout streams, lakes, wild rice beds, majestic forests, clean drinking water and the beauty of Lake Superior is immeasurable, and it would have been jeopardized by Gogebic Taconite’s plans for an open-pit iron mine. We hope lessons will be learned through this experience, and that Wisconsin won’t soon go down the path again of weakening environmental laws for the risky and shortsighted plans of a single company. There was never any doubt that the presence and value specifically of the area’s wetlands were going to make this mine a major risk that could not be mitigated without massive environmental damage. We applaud the work of natural resources professionals and scientists to show the reality of the natural resource impacts of a proposed GTAC mine.
Abundant natural resources are part of Wisconsin’s identity and economy, and we hope this means these resources in the Northwoods will continue to be protected for future generations.