[Russell Buccanero lives on Moore Park Road in the Town of Anderson, Iron County, Wisconsin. His property is near the the land on which Gogebic Taconite plans to construct a 22-mile long, 1,000 foot deep open pit iron mine. Despite GTac's offers to buy his land, Buck has steadfastly refused to sell. - Editors.]
Aren’t we a unique bunch of individuals? We’re a blend of many backgrounds and cultures. The Finns, Italians, Poles, Swedes, Germans and others and have evolved into a cultural mix that makes up northern Wisconsin today. We are a proud, diversified people working hard in a harsh economy and near arctic environment.
We are all connected. Where else can you drive a hundred miles in any direction and acknowledge friends and acquaintances on any road or in any store? Where else can you stop at any watering hole, when the voices welcome you like an episode of CHEERS.
Some may say we are financially poor. We’d like to see more prosperity thru jobs and higher income, but we’re already so rich. Rich with trust and friendships. Rich to be living in the last bastion of sanity where neighbors assist neighbors and there is mutual respect among the people for their properties, cultures and opinions. We are a tough, resilient bunch.
In the last two years we’ve become divided with the idea of opening a mine in our backyard.
We have been force fed buckets of misinformation by biased media, committees and county officials. If this playing card, iron ore, is so precious where are the big dogs like US Steel, Cleveland Cliffs or Polymet? Could it be these large entities know the iron ore can not be mined profitably or safely?
Why are we willing to negotiate and give GTac and Madison everything at the cost of poisoning our environment? To risk environmental harm to our biggest asset, Lake Superior would be a SIN.
Do you really think GTac cares about the health and well being of the citizens of northern Wisconsin? The False Prophet of corporate GTac has fallen on his sword. The spin of lies has been revealed in what should be viewed as a warning from the charges against GTac official Bill Williams in Spain.
These charges include crimes against the environment and humanity. The suit states that arsenic has poisoned the water supply by leaching out of the company’s dry stacking piles. This is the same dry stacking method proposed in the Penokee Mountains.
I suggest everyone read the recent headline in the Ashland Daily Press. It states, “Second Geologist Confirms Asbestos Fibers.” In the article it states Marsha Bjornerud, a geology professor from Lawrence University in Appleton, examined rock samples from the Penokees and concluded “that is among the most dangerous of asbestos minerals.”
When are we going to stop listening to the spin of corporate greed and the fist pounding of the pro- mine people? It’s time for all to take the blinders off and see that we’d be trading our land, water, air and health to put more weight of gold in the purse of GTac and the politicians in the Capitol. We cannot bear this cost. Are we ready to bow down to Madison politicians who never cared if we existed or even knew where northern Wisconsin was until now?
Are we ready to change our landscape and independent way of life? Are we ready to employ union workers from other parts of the country during the construction phase and the actual mining itself? (Only spinoff jobs will be left for the locals.)
Sign outside of a public hearing on GTac’s bulk sampling plan August 15, 2013.
Are we ready for a bigger tax burden to pay for infrastructure such as roads, schools, sewer, water, electricity and law enforcement for with money comes more crime. And we will no longer know our neighbors.
All of this burden we will be forced to bear on our own because GTac, Madison and the pro-mining “officials” have conspired to give nothing back to you the people of northern Wisconsin.
We want to thank all the local politicians and other people who are standing up against the onslaught of this juggernaut in our territory. We hope this letter inspires others to write letters to the editor and talk with their neighbors.