Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

New rules on the books: Oneida County approves overhaul of metallic mining ordinanceSubmitted: 06/19/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

New rules on the books: Oneida County approves overhaul of metallic mining ordinance
RHINELANDER - The rules for metallic mining in Oneida County now look completely different than they did for years.

On a 15-5 vote, the Oneida County Board approved an overhaul of its mining ordinance, closing the process just before a window in state law expired.

Critics of the new rules say it's now easier for a company to mine the rich ore deposit in the town of Lynne. Supporters of the changes feel they're following state law and avoiding legal trouble for the county.

"Clearly, in my mind, what's presented today is an improvement over what we have on the books now, which is unenforceable," said Oneida County Board Chair Dave Hintz.


The county was forced to inspect its mining laws after the passage of 2017 Wisconsin Act 134, which repealed the state's so-called mining moratorium. The law takes effect July 1, giving counties a short window to amend their local ordinances.

"The state, in all their magnanimous decision-making, has put us between a rock and a hard place," said Supervisor Ted Cushing.

The county board defeated each proposed amendment to the ordinance and approved the version passed by the Planning and Development Committee. An amendment calling for a two-thirds board vote to approve mining permits failed by a 11-10 count. A different proposal to ban mining on certain forest lands, including the Lynne site, also failed.

The vote came after two and a half hours of debate, which was preceded by about two hours of public comment. Out of the twenty-four people who spoke to the board, zero were in favor of the ordinance.

"Do you want this place to look like Hurley? Bessemer? Do you want every other house to be tumbling down?" asked John Schneider. "Or do you want to have sustainable development?"

Tom Neale lives near the Willow Flowage, which itself is near Lynne ore deposit.

"The Willow Flowage is a county and regional heirloom that must be cherished and protected," Neale said.

Several members of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe also attended and commented at the meeting. The tribe opposes mining in Oneida County.

"The tribe will vehemently take an oppositional stance to any open pit mining activity that occurs that close to the reservation," said tribal attorney Andrew Adams III.

Acknowledging the concerns from environmentalists, but also previous suggestions from mining supporters, Supervisor Jack Sorensen said the ordinance was on the right track.

"Maybe it's time to come to the conclusion we're right down the middle and we're doing something right," Sorensen said.

The five county board members voting against the new ordinance included Jim Winkler, Alan Van Raalte, Steve Schreier, Bob Metropulos, and Bob Mott. Sonny Paszak was absent for the vote.

In a separate 19-1 vote, supervisors approved putting a mining referendum on the November ballot. Voters will be asked whether they support mining on the Lynne site, but the county board won't be forced to follow public opinion.

Lance Krolczyk was the only supervisor opposed to the measure.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

MARSHFIELD - Almost 50 years passed before farmers across the state could grow one of their favorite plants. But recently, the hemp plant was legalized for farmers to grow and make into things like CBD oil, or even a snack.

+ Read More

MADISON - A man whose armed robbery of a Madison Culver's restaurant led to a bystander's fatal heart attack has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Nicholas Ivy and Xavier Fleming pleaded guilty in August to causing the death of 56-year-old Chris Kneubuehl, of Twin Lakes, during the robbery last year.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK - Nick Lyons and his family stopped into Lizzy T's Tamarack Tap just a few miles north of Rhinelander after long day out in the woods.

"It's pretty much tradition, said Lyons. "We always stop here after."

Although it's tradition, Lyons is celebrating to something new and special after 12 years of hunting.

"It's actually my first deer first buck I've ever shot," said Lyons. "It's well worth it after the 12 years."

Lyons isn't too sure why it took him so long to put some meat in the freezer, but he has a slight hunch it might be due to not having the right permit.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Kids enjoyed some fun on the ice Saturday while parents spent the day hunting and shopping.

The Northern Edge Figure Skaters hosted a 'Parents Day Off' at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.

The team gave parents a day off to shop and hunt.

"Parents can get out," said skater Libbey Buchmann. "[They can] go do the stuff that they need."

Kids were busy ice skating, playing Christmas games, and eating a provided lunch.

The Northern Edge high school girls made sure all the games were fun and exciting

"I really liked helping out with the games and doing limbo and the naughty little elves game," said Peyton Clark.

There was a $20 entrance fee. The money raised will go to Northern Edges skating competitions.

+ Read More

OSHKOSH - A man escaped from Oshkosh's Drug Abuse Correctional Center, a part of the Wisconsin Correctional Center System, Saturday afternoon at 2:34 p.m.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER -
It doesn't matter if you plan to travel through the air or on the roads for Thanksgiving... you're bound to see a lot more traffic than usual. The Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport hopes to make that traffic flow smoothly.

Airport Director Matthew Leitner wants people to get to the airport an hour and 15 minutes before takeoff. TSA screening will begin forty-five minutes prior to take-off. The same liquid carry-on rules from years ago still apply.

"Things go very smoothly here typically, it's a beautiful airport, we have a lot of amenities, we've got a great crew, airline, TSA and airport."

"We're dealing with aircraft that are 50 seats so typically there aren't a lot of congestion with passengers cues and things of that nature which is very nice. That is a very decided advantage for our airport." says Airport Director Matthew Leitner.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - The sizzle of the grill is a familiar sound for Bob Lee. 

He's been cooking at the Tomahawk Venison Feed for 34 years. 

Some things change from year to year, like the weather.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here