A Letter to the Editor in the Aug. 10, 2010, Tomahawk Leader:
The most important lesson of the BP oil spill is that whenever reviewing any mining proposal the most critical factor is the location of the deposit. This factor continues to be ignored by the Oneida County Mining Oversight/Local Impact Committee. Instead of spending the last year understanding the physical setting of the Lynne deposit the committee is now using promotions of the Flambeau Mine to justify leasing public resources in western Oneida County to mining interests even while avoiding the ongoing water quality issues at the Flambeau site.
The footprint of the Lynne deposit and surrounding areas is dominated by water – large wetland areas, a stream and adjacent lakebeds where constructing a mine would challenge state rules and the Oneida County Mining Ordinance. The fundamental issues with the site have been understood for 20 years but have been consistently ignored by the committee. Most astonishing is the utter lack of concern for the complex wetland areas at the site.
Another troubling trend is that the committee seems to be reverting back to the “don’t worry it’s only exploration” mode. This is not about exploration or drilling. It is about a mining interest that wants to gain control over public resources lying under a complex wetland area in western Oneida County.
Make no mistake – this issue is about mining, the control of public resources and the protection of public resources. We have a committee that is groping around for some way to justify an extremely bad idea and hoping that if they keep saying exploration instead of mining, the voters will accept what they are doing. Do not be fooled!
Since the initial failure of the Flambeau Mine the goal of the mining industry has been to get local governments out of the way as quickly a possible – long before they know anything about a mine’s impacts. In this case the first step in that process is to get our county government to sign away control over public resources in the western part of our county. If our county government signs a mining lease to the Lynne site they will find it exceedingly difficult to offer any resistance to any mining proposal. More likely they would bend over backwards to quickly assure all county approvals. Our only recourse will be to elect new board members.
Karl A. Fate