Largest Wisc. paper opposes Crandon mine

Largest Wisc. paper opposes Crandon mine!!

Hey Wisconsin Activists,

Take a look at what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has to say about the Nicolet Minerals Co.'s most recent version of the Crandon mine proposal.

Today, when we mourn the loss of another warrior in the fight to stop the proposed mine--Mole Lake Sokaogon elder and veteran, Evan "Crazy Horse" Smith-- the following editorial is a welcome bit of good news. Moreover, the editorial serves as a reality-check on Nicolet's recent public relations push to sell the mine to the public, even before the State and Federal regulators finish the required work of studying the proposal and the changes. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel should be congratulated on continuing its editorial stance against the proposal. Unlike the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee paper actually seems to understand the regulatory process, and as well, the inherent risks and unavoidable impacts posed by the mine. Should you wish to comment, write them at:

            Letters to the Editor
            Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
            333 West State Street
            Milwaukee, WI 53201-0061

Dave Blouin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
December 13, 1998

" Crandon is no place for mine "

It's nearly impossible to eliminate risks in life, but some risks can be easily avoided. Building a mine in one of the most environmentally fragile parts of this state is a good example.

The best way to eliminate the chance that the proposed copper and zinc mine near Crandon does not contaminate the precious natural resources in that region is not to build the mine at all.

Nicolet Minerals, the company that wants to dig 55 million tons of copper and zinc ore from a deposit near the headwaters of the Wolf River, believes it can do it safely. We remain unconvinced, and the state officials who must approve the mine should be skeptical as well.

In an attempt to allay environmental concerns, mine officials have announced new safeguards, including intense treatment of wastewater at the site, as opposed to the original idea of piping the water to the Wisconsin River about 30 miles away. The wastewater would be cleaned to the point where it exceeded safe drinking water, and then piped underground.

That and other changes--including removing pyrite tailings from the ore, combining them with cement and reburying the mix to reduce the possibility that toxic runoff would pollute ground water and nearby streams and lakes--are major concessions by Nicolet Minerals. But we still question whether they're enough to protect a vulnerable forested wetland area such as this.

Mining officials also say they can now meet the tough standards imposed by the so-called metal ore moratorium passed earlier this year by the Legislature. The measure requires them to identify a number of similar mines elsewhere that have operated for 10 years without polluting the environment along with a similar mine that had been closed 10 years without causing environmental damage.

"This mine," a Nicolet official now boldly promises, "will be the most environmentally friendly ever designed in the world."

Sounds awfully reassuring but, unfortunately, it's not saying all that much considering the less-than-stellar global environmental record of the mining industry in general.

State officials believe Nicolet officials have listened to the concerns of the citizens and the Department of Natural Resources and have aggressively attempted to address those matters. We don't disagree; even some environmentalists, while still opposed to the mine, are encouraged by the changes, which are expected to add millions to the project's cost.

But this is still a lousy place to dig a mine. The jobs the mine would generate are just not worth the environmental risks or the potential harm to the area's tourism and recreation industry.

Copyright 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel