June 25, 2014 by Barbara With
On Friday, June 27, 2014, the Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) will be holding a series of listening sessions, “Truth and Reality of the Penokee Mine,” in Hurley, Mercer and Mellen concerning the proposed 22-mile open pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills.
Chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Mike Wiggins, Jr., will be joined by other PHEP Board Members Frank Koehn and Pete Rasmussen to provide facts about the recent proposal to install a mine in the middle of the Bad River watershed. The sessions will begin at 9 AM in Hurley at Rachelli Park, 803 Maple Street; 12 PM at the Mercer Public Library at 2648W Margaret Street; and 3 PM at the Penokee Deli, 128 S Main Street in Mellen.
PHEP scheduled the sessions in response to the recent propaganda campaign launched by Gogebic Taconite (GTac), which recently held their own one-on-one listening sessions. GTac sessions required reservations; however, people who were perceived as “anti-mine” were denied spots towards the end of their campaign to spread misinformation. In the video below, GTac lobbyist Tim Meyer is heard telling one of the participants that information acquired by Northland College professor and geologist Dr. Tom Fitz was coming from a “witchy” source, and encouraging her not to listen to it.
When asked the purpose of the PHEP listening sessions, Board Member Frank Koehn remarked, “For far too long, GTac has been providing only the information they care to share. The story of the their less-than-honest treatment of facts and reality needs to be corrected. Our goal is to tell the rest of the story, and hopefully the good people of Northern Wisconsin will weigh the facts very carefully and recognize the threat to our water resources, the rivers that feed the Bad River and Lake Superior. At stake are family farmers, the wild rice beds, and a very fragile ecosystem that supports natural sturgeon spawning grounds, and 40% of the wetlands that nourish Lake Superior. And the importance of treaty commitments with our friends and neighbors. These treaty commitments include the right to hunt, fish, and gather – a true sustainable life style.”
Cherie Pero, former Bad River Tribal Council and PHEP board member reiterates that the sessions are about educating people about the threat to the area’s clean water. “Water is a ‘life dependency’— something every living thing needs. It does not matter to the people at GTac, Madison Capitol, or the Crook Brothers because it does not affect them. We are out of sight, out of mind. We need to be deep rooted in someone’s heart to make a difference: a story of survival. We fight for our lives and they fight for that almighty dollar.”
No reservations are needed to attended the listening sessions. All are welcome.
Video: Danielle Kaeding
November 18, 2013
GTAC’s one-on-one meeting with Anastasia Walhovd.