/ Letters / County board should not be issuing permits to mining companies

County board should not be issuing permits to mining companies

May 12, 2020

To the Editor:

I strongly oppose issuing a permit to Badger Minerals in the Town of Schoepke. I live on Pelican Lake in Oneida County, far too close to the exploration site. The personal health, property values, and water quality of Pelican Lake, Post Lake and the Wolf River would all be in jeopardy of extreme harm if the County Board approves this project. This not only affects my family, but the thousands who own property on these water bodies along with everyone who lives in the Wolf River basin. The Wolf River is one of only two rivers in the state earning the designation of Wild and Scenic; this means it is to be protected, not exploited.

Acting on this extreme and controversial permit application without a public hearing is anti-democratic. It's understood that the virus makes it impossible to have a public hearing now, but there is no reason it couldn’t be postponed until the public is free to attend and express their concerns. What’s the hurry? It’s also distressing to learn that five county board members have the power to make such a momentous decision. The entire board should be involved. The board member who represents this area, Bob Mott, is not on the committee; it makes no sense for him not to be a part of this discussion/decision.

In addition, why is this even being considered? There was a county-wide referendum asking the citizens if they wanted mining to be part of future economic plans in the Town of Lynn; it was a resounding vote to not explore mining in the Town of Lynn. County citizens spoke loud and clear that they do not want the risk associated with mining. What would make county board members believe that residents want mining anywhere that would be negatively affected by polluting the water, land and air?

The science is in; there is no way to guarantee sulfide mining will not adversely affect the water, land and air of the area. The economic health of this part of Oneida County relies almost exclusively on the pristine nature of the lakes, rivers and forests for hunting, fishing, hiking, ATV and snowmobile trails, and largest of all revenue streams, taxes from water-front properties. Risking environmental degradation is very bad economics. The short-term gain for the mining company is not worth the long-term consequences of pollution for residents and a downturn in tourism.

The county board and especially the planning and development committee members should not undertake this risk. They will be going against the wishes of the voters they are elected to represent.  


Jean Roach

Pelican Lake



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