Crandon mine site may be more valuable
http://www.wisinfo.com/postcrescent/news/archive/opinion_4736762.shtml† Itís human nature to
place a value on everything. It helps us set our priorities,
from what we buy to how we spend our time.
Thereís a value we place on the environment,
as well, which, in the case of 5,000 acres in the heart
of northern Wisconsin,
is a little higher today, thanks to some interested
parties. The state of Wisconsin, backed by environmental groups and tribal governments have
decided that the land, located at the headwaters of
the Wolf River,
is more valuable as undeveloped nature, than a mine
for Nicolet Minerals.
It is the right approach that, with
a legitimate level of public support, will not only
prevent future threats of mining, but also formally
validate the preservation of the land for the people
In real estate, for every degree of value, there is
For years now, Nicolet
Minerals has pursued state and federal permits to mine
55 million tons of zinc and copper ore from the Crandon
site. The course has been littered with stumbling blocks,
delays and $150 million spent by past and present mining
companies just to keep the project alive against regulatory
procedures and environmental opposition
has indicated a willingness to listen to the stateís
offer, although it will continue pursuing the necessary
permits to mine.
The money to purchase the land is expected
to be a combination of private and public funds, including
the stateís Stewardship Fund.
The Stewardship Fund, with no connection
to the stateís beleaguered budget, is an altogether
appropriate source for this acquisition. The fund has
more than $300 million available specifically assigned
to purchase land for conservation in the coming years.
If there was ever a site targeted by conservation efforts,
state and national, it is Crandon.
Whatever the price,
environmental groups, the tribes, state authorities
and the citizens of Wisconsin will
have to decide if the 5,000 acres is worth it.
Itís an important decision to make, but itís finally
in the right hands.† (END)