6/1/2018 7:29:00 AM Open Letter to the Oneida County Board of Supervisors
To the Editor:
The subject of the June 6 public hearing, to take place at 6 p.m.
at Rhinelander High School, is "Mineral extraction in Oneida County."
Really? Come on guys, you make it sound like you're digging up copper nuggets with a spade! Let's not sugar-coat reality here ... call it what it is: "Sulfide Mining in Oneida County Wetlands."
Sulfide mining puts rivers, lakes, wildlife, and public health at risk by creating acid mine drainage, a permanent toxic process that renders water poisonous and ecosystems lifeless.
Oneida County has the highest percentage of wetlands in the state of Wisconsin. It also has the highest percentage of County lands mapped as wetland.
There are 428 named lakes in Oneida County, along with 701 with no names. Together they make up 68,447 acres of surface area. Willow Flowage, at 6,306 acres, is the largest. Oneida County is the county with the second largest number of lakes in Wisconsin, after neighboring Vilas County.
So why would you invite a Canadian mining company in to ruin Oneida County's water ecosystem forever? Certainly not because it will "boost our economy." We don't need our water-based tourist economy "boosted" with sulfide mining, thanks anyway. Visitors to Oneida County spent $221.8 million in 2016. That's an increase of 2.74 percent over 2015, according the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce. We do not need sulfide mining. And if our county board members lack the courage to stand up to Tiffany and buckle under to his threats, they will endanger Wisconsin families and its natural resources for generations. Our county board should represent the people of Oneida County, not outside mining interests.
Sulfide mining in the desert of Morenci, Arizona is a whole different ballgame than Sulfide Mining in the wetlands of Wisconsin! Think twice about this, please. You'll never be able to undo the damage to our Oneida County water ecosystem. You'll never be able to undo the damage to our economy, health and safety of all that live up here.