Protesters march in opposition to Schoepke drilling siteSubmitted: 06/01/2020
Andrew Goldstein
Andrew Goldstein
Sports Anchor/Reporter

Protesters march in opposition to Schoepke drilling site
"We're not living in society to make money," said Robert VanZile, an elder in the Sokaogon Chippewa Communty. "We can't say how valuable these trees are, even though they are of value."

The Sokaogon Chippewa Community has a special connection to the land, which is why several dozen concerned citizens and tribal members gathered to march against an exploratory drilling project.

"That's a very bad thing to do in the area they're doing it at," said local property owner Adam Dehart.

Badger Minerals LLC began exploratory drilling in Schoepke, near the border between Oneida and Forest Counties, to evaluate the potential of a sulfide mine.

Activists worry that mine could pollute the Wolf River water table, which provides nearly a quarter of the water that flows into Lake Michigan.

"Every Wisconsin taxpayer and resident has stake in this game because they're going to end up paying for the environmental damage caused by this mine," said Ron James, a local property owner.

People can also expect to see impacts from such a mine closer to home.

"I like doing a lot of fishing and hunting, myself, and I wonder what it's going to do to our fish and our deer," Dehart said.

Badger Minerals filed several notices with the DNR stating its intent to drill, but people in the community say they were not consulted.

"I had to hear about it through friends and whatnot," Dehart said. "It's despicable."

For VanZile, there was no choice but to protest.

"It's a violation of natural law that we have a responsibility to speak to and speak for," VanZile said.

WJFW reached out to Badger Minerals LLC for comment and did not hear back from them in time.

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