Wisconsin tribal leader warns lawmakers on mining plans

Published On: Apr 12 2011 08:47:27 AM CDT   Updated On: May 15 2011 11:51:34 PM CDT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Chippewa tribal leader has warned state lawmakers about the dangers posed to the environment by a proposed mine in northern Wisconsin.

Mike Wiggins Jr., chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, says a push to mine for iron ore could have drastic effects on ground water and other aspects of the environment. Wiggins says that tribes want to create jobs, but it must be balanced with environmental preservation to save state treasures for future generations.

Gogebic Taconite wants to spend more than $1 billion to develop an open-pit iron ore mine. It has purchased an option to lease the mineral rights on 22,000 acres in Ashland and Iron counties.

Wiggins remarks came during the seventh annual State of the Tribes, given to the Legislature on behalf of the state's Indian tribes.