Former state Sen. Bob Jauch says the bruising political battle over the mining bill “tore the community apart. It pitted neighbor versus neighbor. It destroyed relationships. And for what? All to come to the conclusion that this thing was never feasible in the first place.”
Tribal officials and a treaty law expert say the Iron County camp, dubbed a harvest camp by Ojibwe, or Chippewa, lays the foundation for a possible legal case invoking their federal treaty rights.
Bill Williams, GTAC president, said the company is licensed in Arizona but not in Wisconsin. “We understand they have applied for the appropriate Wisconsin license but not yet had their application approved.”
Despite harsh criticism from two northern legislators and an outcry from anti-mining activists, a spokesman for Gogebic Taconite said Tuesday that armed, paramilitary-style guards will continue to patrol the site deep in the Penokee Range where the company wants to build a large open pit iron mine.
The mining bill in the past legislative session drew more than 8,500 hours of lobbying activity by more than 50 groups. Sullivan’s role this time around seems as key as any of those efforts. But Sullivan is not a lobbyist.
Over the past six months, Gogebic Taconite LLC spent $114,883 lobbying state officials in support of its proposal to open an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, who represents the district where the mine would be located, says this was “a complete waste of money.”