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Produced and created by Menominee Treaty Rights & Mining Impacts nomining@itol.com
and other environmental organizations

  • 1954   Menominee Termination Begins.
  • 1968   Kennecott 1st discovers ore body at Ladysmith.
  • 1969   Exxon Coal & Mineral Company begin mineral exploration in Northern Wisconsin.
  • 1973   Menominee Restoration Begins.
  • 1974   A geologic anomaly was detected by an airborne electromagnetic survey south of Crandon.
  • 1975   Exploratory drilling began, and several months later ore was discovered
  • 1976   Exxon formally announced the discovery of its zinc, copper and lead ore body.
  • 1977-1978   First comprehensive mining law passed.
  • 1978   Exxon submitted its Notification of Intent to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, indicating its intent to collect data and conduct studies in support of a mining permit application.
  • 1981   State drops non-degradation water quality standards.
  • 1981   James Klauser, Exxon lobbyist, tells Wisconsin Manufactures and Commerce that "Wisconsin could host up to ten metal mines by 2000, including Ladysmith."
  • 1982   Exxon submitted its major design, engineering and environmental study documents along with the required permit applications. Exxon files its first mine application with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
  • 1983   Mining is exempted from clean groundwater standards. Limits on foreign corporations owning more than 640 acres dropped.
  • 1984-1992   Chippewa spearfishing struggle continues with anti-treaty/anti-Indian groups supported by pro-mining government officials and corporations.
  • 1985   The company redesigned its mining proposal and submitted revised environmental documents and permit applications.
  • May 1986   Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) releases its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for public review.
  • Nov. 1986   WDNR releases its final EIS (FEIS) and begins preparations for the master hearing. Tommy Thompson is elected Governor.
  • Dec. 1986  Exxon withdraws its permit applications, citing poor metal prices and indefinitely suspends project activity.
  • 1987  Local Agreement is passed as amendment to state budget.
  • 1987  Governor appoints James Klauser, Exxon lobbyist, to be Secretary of Administration. Kennecott announces plan to mine copper/gold in Ladysmith.
  • Nov. 1988  Natural Resources Board declares Wolf River "Outstanding Resource Water."
  • 1989  Exxon has worst mine safety record among the top 20 U.S. coal mining firms.
  • Mar. 24, 1989  Exxon Valdez disaster destroys Prince William Sound.
  • 1990  Governor Thompson re-elected to second term.
  • 1991  Proposed Flambeau mine receives required permits.
  • Aug. 1992  Exxon announced it had reached an agreement with Phelps Dodge Mining Company to conduct a joint evaluation of the Crandon deposit and initiate communications with WDNR. Several months later Phelps Dodge withdrew from further action.
  • 1993   Flambeau mine begins operations.
    Gedicks,Al. (1993). The new resource wars: Native and environmental struggles against multinational corporations. (research paper).
    A question of bias? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Record on Metallic Mining Issues, (1996), [on line] Available: http://www.earthwins.com/biasdnr.html#14
  • Sept. 1993   Exxon and Rio Algom, Ltd. announce formation of the Crandon Mining Company, a Wisconsin Partnership that would seek to develop the project.
  • 1994   Thompson re-elected to third term as governor.
  • 1994   Published: Walleye Warriors book by Walter Bresette and Rick Whaley, documentsWisconsin government/DNR and corporate involvement in Chippewa spearfishing struggle.
  • 1994-present   The Crandon Mining Company conducted technical discussions with WDNR staff and consultants on project engineering and design issues, environmental studies, date gathering and verification. As sufficient information became available, the WDNR began preparing its DEIS. The WDNR hired more than 20 technical consultants to help with project review and evaluation.
  • 1994 winter   WDNR begins Northern Initiatives process.
  • Feb. 1994   Crandon Mining Company submits its Notification of Intent to collect data which starts WDNR's official regulatory review of proposed project.
  • Apr. 1994   WDNR held a hearing on Crandon Mining Company's Notification of Intent and Scope of Study.
    Statewide rally against Crandon mine at State Capitol and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
  • May 1994   Coalition begins collecting two petitions: one to ask WDNR to strengthen rules regulating sulfide mining, one asking WDNR to ban sulfide mining.
  • June 1994   Exxon/Rio Algom submit their application to mine the ore body.
  • June 1994   "Protect Mother Earth" gathering at Mole Lake, co-sponsored by Indigenous Environmental Network and Midwest Treaty Network draws 1000 people.
    Wisconsin Review Commission hold citizens' hearing on track records of Exxon and Rio Algom.
  • Dec. 1994   WDNR issues decision that it does not have authority to ban sulfide mining.
    Coalition begins lawsuit challenging WDNR decision that it does not have authority to ban sulfide mining.
  • Jan 1995   Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce hired by CMC to promote the jobs and revenues that state mining would generate.
  • 1995   Governor's budget cuts Public Intervenor and makes WDNR Secretary a Governor appointed position.
  • Mar. 24 1995   State passes "bad actor" law but law ineffective due to WDNR's ability to grant waiver.
  • Apr. 1995   American Rivers declared Wolf River threatened. The next day CMC announces plan to pipe wastewater 38 miles to Hat Rapids and Wisconsin River.
  • May 1995   CMC submits its environmental impact report and the first of its permit applications and technical studies.
    Menominee Nation hosts Kids for Clean Water intercultural environmental gathering.
  • June 1995 - Present   The company begins providing periodic updates to its environmental impact report and permit applications.
  • July 1995   WDNR releases "White Paper."
  • Oct. 2 1995  Judge Henderson rules WDNR does have authority to ban sulfide mining.
  • Oct. 1995  CMC releases incomplete EIR.
  • Nov. 1995  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determines that it will prepare a separate environmental impact statement on the proposed mine and begin independent evaluations on groundwater modeling, predictions of contaminant movement, and surface water quality and quantity issues.
  • Dec. 19, 1995  Mining Moratorium bill 1995 AB 758 introduced by Representatives Spencer Black and Bill Lorge.
    Mining Moratorium bill buried in committee.
  • Apr. 3, 1996  Legislature votes to bring Mining Moratorium to floor debate.
  • Apr. 22-May 4, 1996  Wolf Watershed Educational Project speaking tour travels to 22 communities, drawing 1,100 people along the Wolf and Wisconsin Rivers.
  • May 1996  WDNR held a public meeting in Tomahawk to discuss wastewater issues relating to the proposed discharge of treated wastewater to the Wisconsin River.
  • May 4, 1996  1000 people march at rally in Rhinelander.
  • May 6, 1996  Legislature dismisses a week early, avoids Mining Moratorium Bill.
  • May 15, 1996  Nashville Zoning Board denies BHP exploration permit.
    BHP initiates suit against Nashville town board. Nashville Board of Adjustment grants BHP permit.
  • June 12, 1996  Mining Moratorium Pledge Campaign initiated.
  • June 12, 1996  Third Circuit Court of Appeals overturns Judge Henderson decision - WDNR does not have authority to ban sulfide mining.
  • July - Aug. 1996  Anishinaabe Ogichida block sulfuric acid trains crossing Bad River
    Reservation to White Pine mine in Michigan
  • Sept. 1996  Walleyes for Tomorrow makes stand against mine proposal.
  • Oct. 1996  ECCOLA publishes "Questions of Bias" documenting WDNR pro-mining bias.
  • Oct. 22, 1996   Nashville citizens and Wisconsin Resource Protection Council initiate lawsuit against Nashville town board.
  • Nov. 1996  CMC announces intent to sign local agreements with Forest County and Town Board of Nashville.
  • Dec. 7, 1996  Nashville citizens call a special town meeting; special town meeting is closed by Nashville town board.
  • Dec. 12, 1996  CMC signs local agreement with Nashville & Forest County.
  • 1997  Flambeau mine discontinued.
  • Jan. -Mar. 1997  Crandon Mining Company launches pro-mine TV ads around the state.
  • Feb. 1997  The Menominee Indian Tribe and others ask various Great Lakes State Governors to consider whether the Water Resource Development Act should apply to the Crandon pipeline.
  • Feb. 12, 1997  The Badger Fund is repealed and $5million - $7million balance goes to general pool of state budget money.
  • Mar. 1997  Metallic Mining Council reactivated with pro-mining majority.
  • Mar. 11, 1997  Wisconsin Senate passes amended Mining Moratorium Bill (SB3) by a vote of 29-33.
  • Mar. 13, 1997 - Jan. 22, 1998  Mining Moratorium bill held in Assembly Committee(s).
  • Apr. 1997   Nashville elects new Town Board; other anti-sulfide mining candidates elected.
    American Rivers declares Wolf River "Fifth Most Endangered River."
  • Apr. - July 1997   WDNR held 7 informational meetings across northern Wisconsin
  • 1997   (Wausau, Green Bay, Tomahawk, Rhinelander, Crandon, New London, and Town of Ainsworth) to receive public comments on the proposal and to respond to public concerns. Meeting summaries were distributed following the meeting.
  • June 1997   Chicago rally against mine at Wisconsin Tourism Board
  • July - Sept. 1997   WWEP Circle Tour for mining moratorium reaches 20 communities around the state.
  • July 27, 1997   Wise Use groups-People for the West, NASH, Coalition for Fair Regulation surface. Earth First! protest: 29 EF! arrested; numerous violations of civil rights witnessed; ACLU takes EF! case.
  • Sept. 3, 1997   Menominee Tribal Chairman requests explanation from Army Corps about process and legal analysis used to reach their interpretation of the Water Resources Development Act. In November, Army Corps responds by stating that the legal analysis could not be supplied "because it contained privileged attorney client communications and analysis."
  • Oct. 1997   1000 people attend moratorium hearing in Milwaukee, two-thirds for the bill.
    Union locals and federations pass resolutions against company attempts to influence labor.
  • Dec. 1997   The WDNR revised its project review schedule to reflect the status of ongoing studies on groundwater, containment movement and surface waters. The DEIS will be released no more than 4 months after all required studies and data are received and verified as acceptable.
  • Dec. 2, 1997   State Assembly Environment Committee voted 6-4 to send the Mining Moratorium Bill to the full State Assembly.
  • 1998   American Rivers declares Wolf River one of the 20 Most Endangered Rivers of 1998.
  • Jan. 1998   Secretary George Meyer announced that the final decision on the project will be made by an administrative law judge appointed by the State Division of Hearings and Appeals. The written decision will be made following the master hearing process.
  • Jan. 1998   Rio Algom Ltd., announces it is buying Exxon out of the project for the sum of $17.5 million, and additional $5 million if the mine is opened and a 2.5%royalty profits from the Crandon mine. Crandon Mine Company changes its name to Nicolet Minerals Company.
  • Jan. 22, 1998   The State Assembly passes the Mining Moratorium Bill with several amendments and returns it to the Senate for their approval.
  • Jan. 28, 1998   Michigan's Governor Engler writes a letter to Governor Thompson with his concerns about the diversion of tributary groundwater from the Great Lakes Basin via NMC's proposed pipeline.
  • Feb. 3, 1998   The Senate refuses to pass the Assembly version of the Mining Moratorium Bill and instead passes their own amended version. This version of the bill is overwhelmingly endorsed by the Assembly on Feb. 4, 1998.
  • Mar. 1998   Nicolet Minerals Company announces its proposal to study the possibility of using pyrite separation (removing sulfide from the mining waste rock) and grouting (to reduce the inflow of groundwater into the mine) at the proposed mine site. The WDNR agrees to evaluate the proposed techniques, although they are not included in the mine permit application or the Environmental Impact Report.
  • Apr. 1998  The WDNR issues a progress report of the Department's review of the proposed mine project. The project review schedule is "referenced to the future time (x) when the Department has received all of the necessary studies and date from NMC and has verified them to be complete and acceptable."
  • Apr. 22, 1998  Menominee Tribal Chairman sends letter to WDNR Secretary George Meyer stating "discussions between the WDNR and Nicolet Minerals Company on issues such as pyrite separation and grouting should cease until they are formally included in the mine permit application and the EIR". On May 15, 1998 the WDNR responds by stating, "because our overall regulatory responsibilities on this project, the Department has a duty to consider, review and comment on any significant potential project changes. Should NMC formally propose a detailed grouting program, a revision to the Mine Permit Application and the EIR would be necessary."
  • Apr. 22, 1998  Governor Tommy Thompson signs Wisconsin Act 171 (the Mining Moratorium Bill) into law!
  • May 27, 1998   With the many changes proposed for the project, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that "once NMC elects to finalize their overall approach to the project, that the Army Corps of Engineers requests NMC to provide new, updated versions of the Mine Permit Application and of the EIR and to not just replace pages as has been done through the past several years."
  • June 10, 1998  WDNR sends letter to NMC stating, "we would like to restate our belief that the pyrite separation concept that NMC is considering would significantly address public concern regarding the long-term risks of the proposed project. We would like to encourage NMC to give serious consideration to modifying the formal proposal to include depyritization."
  • June 30, 1998  WDNR sends letter to NMC requesting completed versions and updates to eight of its documents and a list of candidate mine sites "before the draft environmental impact statement can be completed and in order for us to determine compliance with the mining moratorium law". The request gives no specific timeframes or deadlines for compliance.
  • Aug. 1998  Rio Algom forced to reclaim abandoned Poirier Mine in Quebec, Canada after a new law in Quebec made the former operators responsible for cleanup.
  • Sept. 23, 1998  Nashville Town Board rescinds 1996 local agreement.
  • Oct. 1998  Statewide rally against mine at State Capitol.
  • Oct. 2, 1998   Governor's Science Advisory Council on Metallic Mining and Department of Natural Resources staff tour Canadian Mines.
  • Nov. 3, 1998  Tommy Thompson re-elected as governor of Wisconsin.
  • Nov. 9, 1998   Nicolet Minerals Company sends Nashville Property Owners a letter stating they will be taking legal action in response to the Nashville Town Boards rescinding of the Local Agreement. The NMC board serves the town board with a "Notice of Claim," giving the board 120 days to reverse or rectify their decision. NMC states they will take further legal action if the town does not make the right decision.
  • Nov. 17, 1998  The 7th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin's treaty rights lawsuit was properly dismissed by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in 1996. Dismissal of the lawsuit was based solely on the language of the treaty. The Menominee intend to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Dec. 9, 1998  Nicolet Minerals Company uses design changes plans (grouting, pyrite separation, seepage basins) to give the impression they are environmentally friendly. NMC feels they are addressing the public concerns.
  • Jan. 5, 1999  Nicolet Minerals Company announces three mines they believe satisfy Act 171, the mining moratorium law. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says no decision will be made in regards to the mines for at least 1 1/2 to 2 years. Activists denounce the examples.
  • Jan. 9, 1999  Sacaton Mine in Casa Grande Arizona, one of the 3 example mines Nicolet Minerals Company has submitted to fulfill Act 171, has been exempt from that state's groundwater regulations since it closed in 1984.
  • Jan. 27, 1999  Larry Lynch tells Natural Resources Board that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was recommending against a minimum fee to the Irrevocable Trust Fund.
    The Cullaton Lake Mine, submitted by Nicolet Minerals Company as fulfilling Act 171, is not comparable to the Crandon site because tailings are frozen in a layer of permafrost.
  • Jan. 28, 1999  Wisconsin Natural Resources Board decided metal mining companies will not have to pay $2 per ton of waste into a trust fund to clean up environmental damage. Companies would be required to contribute to a trust fund based on a case-by-case analysis of each mining proposal.
  • Feb. 22, 1999  Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environmental Resources and Campaign Finance Reform vote to modify Irrevocable Trust Fund to require that the level of funding for a trust fund be sufficient to fund a worst case preventative or remedial measures. This level of funding would be attained early in the life of a mining project.
  • Apr. l8, 1999   3 Town of Nashville incumbents opposed to the Crandon mine are re-elected.
  • Apr. 22, 1999  Natural Resources Board modifies Irrevocable Trust Fund for metallic mining operations to clarify intent. The Fund should be adequate to fund all worst case remedial and preventive measures that are "possible."
  • b   Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa win Treatment as a State (TAS) status from the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin and will be able to set its own water quality standards within the boundaries of its reservation in land held in trust for them by the federal government.
  • Apr. 30, 1999   The Town of Nashville is served notice that Nicolet Minerals Company has filed a lawsuit challenging the town board's decision to rescind the controversial Local Agreement.
  • May 11, 1999  Army Corps of Engineers announces decision to contract portions of the Federal Environmental Impact Statement to outside consultants. Nicolet Minerals Company will be paying the outside contractors for their work.
  • May 26, 1999   Wisconsin State Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance adopts an amendment to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources budget that would allow local governments to renegotiate Local Agreements with mining companies. This is later removed by Senate and Assembly Actions.
  • Mid Jul 1999   State appeals ruling on Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa water rights.
  • Aug. 1999  Federation of Fly Fishers names Wolf River as the "number one endangered river" in the United States.
    Rio Algom writes down its assets on the Crandon mine pending the state permitting process.
  • Sept. 29, 1999  Natural Resources Board delays decision on Environmental Coalition petition to adopt administrative rules to Act 171 and recommends the WDNR address petitioners concerns.
  • Oct.1999   Forest County Potawatomi win federal Treatment-As-State status under the federal Clean Air Act.
  • Nov. 8, 1999  Oneida County Judge Mark Mangerson signs settlement where former Nashville Town Board admits to violating Wisconsin Open Meeting Laws.
  • Dec. 8, 1999   Natural Resources Board denies Environmental Coalition petition to adopt administrative rules to Act 171.
  • Feb. 2000   Five environmental groups call for a cyanide ban at Crandon mine after European mine spill disaster.
  • Feb. 3, 2000  Oneida County Judge Mark Mangerson rejects bid to void Local Agreement between Town of Nashville and Nicolet Minerals Company.
  • Apr. 29, 2000   Wisconsin Students/Youth Rally to Stop the Crandon Mine held at State Capitol, draws opponents to mine, transmission line, and Perrier proposals. Culminates statewide schools speaking tour of Wolf Watershed Educational Project.


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