Paul DeMain

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Proponents of an iron mine in northern Wisconsin are disappointed that Gogebic Taconite has closed its Hurley office and appears to be backing away from its plan to mine the area. 

State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst blames federal EPA regulations that he says make wetland remediation cost-prohibitive. 

“Whereas at the state level, we set certainty into our bill so they knew what our costs are going to be, they’re not sure at the federal level what those costs are going to be.  So that’s certainly had a chilling effect and impacted their decision.” 

Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

Organizers against a mine proposal in northern Wisconsin are looking to maple syrup to provide an economic boost for the region. 

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp, also called the HELP Village has maintained a presence in the Penokee Range for almost two years.

Spokesperson Paul DeMain says maple syrup production is a more sustainable alternative to open pit mining. 

“The tapping industry, not just maple but we’re talking about potential yellow and white birch – we’d like to talk about revitalizing that industry.” 

A group of people are planning a snowshoe hike through the Penokee Range this weekend that crosses land closed to the public because of mining-related activity. 

The hike meets Sunday at the site of the Harvest Camp, or HELP Village on Moorepark Road in the town of Anderson in Iron County. 

Village spokesperson Paul DeMain says the area should be open to the public despite a company’s plans for an iron mine there. 

State Senator Jerry Petrowski of the 29th District will have a challenger this election.

Democrat and business owner Paul DeMain has announced he will run against the Republican incumbent.

DeMain heralds from Wausau and now lives on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation near Hayward.  He is a member of the Oneida Nation and CEO of Indian Country Communications. 

DeMain says he’s committed to public service, job development, and small business.

Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp celebrated its one-year anniversary this weekend.  

On Saturday, April 26th, a group of about thirty people gathered in Iron County to feast on pancakes and locally produced maple syrup they call “Penokee Gold.”   

Paula Mohan came from Madison for the event.

“I wanted to come for the pancakes and the Penokee Gold and all the other food and the fact that it is the one year anniversary," Mohan said. "I was last here in February and it’s kind of nice to be here because it is not twenty below and there are no bugs yet."

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Members of the Lac Court Oreilles Harvest Education and Learning Project plan to rotate in and out of the site to comply with Iron County rules. 

Earlier this month the Iron County Board of Supervisors gave Harvest Camp residents six business days to leave, saying they were in violation of a 14-day camping limit. 

Camp spokesperson Paul DeMain says the site will remain as it is, but longterm residents will follow the rules by leaving every two weeks for at least 24 hours. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Iron County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to close the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp Thursday night, saying residents are violating a 14-day camping limit on county forest land. 

About 30 people attended the meeting, most speaking in support of what’s officially called the Harvest Education Learning Project, or HELP Village.  An hour of public comment was followed by an hour in closed session, where county supervisors consulted with legal counsel.  A motion to close the camp passed 13 votes to 0, with two members absent. 

Andy Arthur

Groups of snowshoers continue to traverse areas where Gogebic Taconite is drilling and sampling.  

A new law forbids the public from coming within 600 feet of equipment and roads used for iron mining.   But those opposed to the measure say it’s designed to hide environmental damage from the public. 

Paul DeMain organized a recent trip to the Tyler Forks.  He says some activists are hoping for a citation, in hopes of challenging the law in court.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp in Iron County won’t be going anywhere for the time being.  The Iron County Board has taken the camp’s eviction off its Tuesday agenda. 

Harvest camp residents have been staying on county forest land since the spring in response to Gogebic Taconite’s mine proposal.  But the Iron County Forestry Committee voted last week to evict them.

Iron County Clerk Mike Saari says this week’s delay doesn’t mean the issue is gone for good. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Iron County Forestry and Parks committee members have again unanimously voted to evict the residents of the Harvest Camp near the site of a proposed iron mine.  

Members of the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe and other supporters have been camping on county land since early spring in opposition of Gogebic Taconite’s mine proposal.