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Wetlands Group Says Walker Scapegoating Feds For GTAC Mine Failure

Mining Company Officially Withdrew Plans For The Site Last Month

Jimmy Emerson DVM (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A wetlands advocate is taking issue with Gov. Scott Walker’s repeated blaming of federal agencies for the failure of a planned mine in northern Wisconsin.

The governor this week said the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were insurmountable barriers to getting an iron ore mine developed near Mellen. Mining company Gogebic Taconite cited EPA actions in other states as a major reason they recently backed out of the planned mine.

One issue has been wetlands at the Penokee Hills site. But Erin O’Brien of Wisconsin Wetlands Association disagrees with Walker’s characterization.

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“We just don’t think the project was far enough along in the process to know what the federal or state agencies were going to do,” she said. “You know, The fact is that GTAC walked away from this project voluntarily.”

O’Brien said if a mining company comes back with a new proposal for the site, a key factor to analyze is what job the wetlands perform there, and what would happen if the wetlands were to be removed.