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July 17, 2018

7/10/2018 7:30:00 AM
Respect Al Gedicks

To the Editor:

We would like to respond to the editorial by Gregg Walker and Richard Moore of June 26, which disparages our friend of 42 years, Al Gedicks.

I was the tribal secretary of the Sokaogon Chippewa tribe in Mole Lake when Exxon discovered one of the world's biggest copper and zinc deposits in 1976. At that time, Gedicks was hired by the tribe to assist us with dealing with one of the world's most powerful corporations.

Gedicks went above and beyond to help us organize tribes, fishermen, hunters, clean water advocates and politicians. As a result of everyone working together, the Prove It First mining law was passed and sulfide mining was not allowed. The land that would have been destroyed was eventually purchased and the mining companies left Forest County.

A sulfide mine has never operated without denigrating the land and water. If such a mine existed, it would not have been necessary for the pro-mining forces to rescind the law.

In the Walker-Moore article, when referring to Gedicks, the word expert is put in quotes as if he isn't an expert. The truth is, Gedicks is an expert. He's been dealing with mining issues for over 42 years, both in the U.S. and in South America.

Gedicks, besides being an author and a professor emeritus at UW-La Crosse, has dedicated his life to preserving the land and water for future generations. People treat him like a hero because that's what he is.

Calling Gedicks a person who promotes violence is laughable. We've spent much time with Gedicks, and never once in 42 years has he suggested violence as a means of getting something accomplished.

Oneida County is a unique place filled with beautiful lakes and forests. Is it violent to want to preserve it for future generations? What about encouraging foreign mining companies to dig it up, pollute the water and leave a wasteland for future generations?

If Walker and Moore can't win an argument using relevant facts and logic, let's kill the messenger is the route they take.

To say you don't want outsiders coming and interfering with your business sounds a lot like what was coming out of Alabama during the civil rights movement. When local people ask someone to come and help, their guests should be treated with respect.

Sherry and Dan Poler

La Crosse

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