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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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home : opinions : letters to the editor
May 31, 2020

3/7/2020 7:30:00 AM
Reader questions county board regarding zoning for possible mines

To the Editor:

I suspect that, by now, most of the folks in the Town of Schoepke know that a mining interest called Badger Minerals, is proposing to conduct exploratory drillings near the Upper Wolf River, by Stockley Creek. Badger Minerals has a mailing address in Menomonie, Michigan, and they are subsidiary of a Canadian company. The part of Schoepke that is being targeted, is zoned "General Use." What many may not know, is that "General Use" means something substantially different than it did 2 or 3 years ago. The Planning & Development Committee led by Dave Hintz and Scott Holewinski, decided to allow metallic mining, as a permitted use, in areas zoned "General Use." Under the previous mining ordinance, metallic mining was only allowed in areas zoned "Manufacturing & Industrial." For a mine to be constructed at the Stockley Creek site, it would have had to be rezoned to "Manufacturing & Industrial." A rezone is a significant hurdle, that the mining interests do not like, that also happens to protect people living in the impacted area. This important protection has now been eliminated, thanks to these supervisors, and a majority of the county board. Some supervisors, pushing for a mine at Lynne, have been working for several years to allow metallic mining in areas zoned "1-A Forestry." They finally were successful, only to find out that a significant majority of voters don't want a mine at Lynne. Were those same supervisors pushing for a mine in Schoepke, by allowing metallic mining in "General Use?" We may never know, because the process used to construct the current mining ordinance, was shrouded in secrecy. The public hearing on the ordinance was a sham. This is just one of several important protections that were eliminated by our county government when it rewrote our mining ordinance, and we are already seeing the negative implications of these changes. Everyone in Oneida County should be asking this question. Why would our county government remove important provisions designed to protect the people that live, work, and pay taxes here?

Karl Fate, Crescent

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