If approved, an iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills of northwestern Wisconsin could generate jobs for many years in an area that needs them.
But what would the Penokee Hills look like when it’s over? After all, the open pit mine might be four miles long and a thousand feet deep, leaving a huge scar.
If the mine lasted as long as it’s supposed to, few of us would be around to face the full consequences, but don’t we have an obligation to leave the landscape in decent shape after we’re gone?
That should be taken into consideration during the permitting process. So should the effects on streams and Lake Superior. Also the risk to people from asbestos-like fibers, carcinogens found in rock at the mine site which could wind up in the atmosphere during blasting operations.
So I hope the mine isn’t approved. Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably. I use the stuff that comes from mines, and so do you. But mining should be done in the right place in the right way, and not cause lasting damage.
When it comes to approving or disallowing the Penokee Hills mine, let’s hope money isn’t the deciding factor, as it so often is.