Company Seeks To End State Protection For Effigy Mound Group On Its Property

Wingra Redi-Mix, Inc. Wants To Mine For Stone Under Effigy Mounds On Its Property

Effigy mound groups are common in Dane County. Above, a bird effigy on Observatory Hill in Madison. Photo: James Steakley (CC-BY-SA)

A Wisconsin company is pursuing legal avenues to mine underneath a native effigy mound group in Dane County.

Raymond Roder is the lawyer for Wingra Stone Company and Wingra Redi-Mix, Inc., the company that owns the land the mounds are on. He said the issue in the circuit court case is whether or not human remains are present in the mounds, and whether or not they should continue be protected under state law.

“The evidence we have at this point is that there are not human remains present,” said Roder. “Were there such human remains present, they would be properly removed and reinterred – again, properly – so that we could mine the minerals, the non-metallic minerals, sand and limestone, that are below.“

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Roder said Wingra brought the case to court last April after asking if the site could be de-catalogued, and the director of the Wisconsin Historical Society refused.

According to Roder, the materials under the mound are valued at least $10 million. The company is also pursuing another legal option to reach the materials. Roder says the company is trying to get a state permit that would allow them to disturb the site. Wingra’s actions are also opposed by the Ho-Chunk tribe.

Roder said there could be decisions on the court case and the permit by the end of May. The state Department of Justice declined to comment because of the pending litigation.

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