Ashland County Passes Ordinance To Shield Itself From Costs Of Mine


Ashland County approved a mining ordinance this morning that supporters say will protect them from problems or costs from mining the Penokee Range.

The vote was 18-1 in favor of the mining ordinance. County Board Chairman Pete Russo says Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) was there, and didn’t like it.

Russo: “If you say this mine is safe and you want to work with the counties and all these other things they say, why is it when we do something like this, you could tell by their attitude and how they look [that] they don’t want it!”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Russo says the ordinance has some environmental checks and will require GTAC to reimburse the county for mining impacts on taxpayers. In fact, it requires a $100,000 deposit.

Russo: “Now if they want anything done on this mine, if they want a permit, they’ve got to come to Ashland County and they’ve got to come to the table.”

GTAC has proposed a 4.5-mile-long mine spanning Iron and Ashland Counties. A spokesman says the new state iron ore bill passed this year is enough regulation.

On July 2, Iron County will vote on establishing its own mining regulations, requiring a $50,000 application fee and $100,000 impact fund. Iron County zoning administrator Tom Bergren says it’s based on similar ordinances in Oneida, Rusk, Taylor, and now Ashland County.