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October 28th 2003 was a sad day for the mining industry in Wisconsin.

It was reported today that Indian Gaming casino profits have ruined the chances for the Crandon mine.

Actions such as this could set a precedent for future mines. Think about it!

Tribes’ purchase ends Crandon mine tussle
Mining company says ‘hostile political climate’ doomed project

Last Updated: Oct. 28, 2003
Madison – Two Wisconsin Indian tribes parlayed their gaming revenue to pay $16.5 million Tuesday for land, assets and the mineral rights of the proposed Crandon mine, in a surprising end to more than two decades of controversy over the environmental impact of the planned mine.

Crandon Mine

Timeline: History of the proposed Crandon mine

The Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Chippewa and the Forest County Potawatomi purchased Nicolet Minerals Co. and its property and will evenly divide the 5,770-acre proposed mine site in Forest County.

In addition, the Mole Lake band will assume ownership of Nicolet Minerals. Sandra Rachal, Mole Lake chairwoman, said the tribe will withdraw the company’s permit applications to mine at the site because the proposal is “environmentally unsafe and technologically unsound.”

The proposed mine site is between the Mole Lake and Potawatomi reservations at the headwaters of the Wolf River on land tribal officials say holds great cultural, historic and religious importance for the tribes.

The site includes and is surrounded by several small lakes and wetlands and is the kind of pristine environment that is rapidly disappearing in northern Wisconsin, tribal officials said.

“The risks to the water, the land and the air from the proposed project by Nicolet Minerals Company were much too great, and so we took action,” Rachal said in announcing the purchase during a Capitol news conference.

Potawatomi Chairman Gus Frank said the purchase was a victory not only for the tribes but also for the environment of northern Wisconsin and the tourism industry that depends on a clean environment.

“We worried about what the proposal by Nicolet Minerals Company would do to our land, our water and our air,” Frank said at the news conference.

“So our tribal members took this action to protect those resources for generations to come, but it is an action we could not have taken without gaming revenues from our casinos.”

Rachal also said that without gaming revenue the Sokaogon Chippewa could not have purchased the mine site.

Tribal officials said the two tribes would equally split the $16.5 million cost of the purchase.

Gordon Connor Jr., project manager for Nicolet Minerals Co., said his firm purchased the mine in April from BHP Billiton in hopes of finding a partner to get the project done. But Connor said delays by the state Department of Natural Resources ground efforts to open a mine to a halt.

Even though Nicolet Minerals searched throughout the world for venture capitalists or mining partners, none wanted anything to do with a metallic mining project in Wisconsin, Connor said.

‘Hostile political climate’
Nicolet Minerals decided to sell the project to the Indian tribes because of “intense anti-corporate feeling in the regulatory review process and the overall hostile political climate for metallic mining in this state,” Connor said in a phone interview.

The mine was initially proposed by Exxon Corp. in the 1970s, but its ownership passed to a subsidiary and most recently to BHP Billiton. Nicolet Minerals had been seeking required state, federal and local permits to mine 55 million tons of ore just south of Crandon.

Connor said the tribes approached Nicolet Minerals last summer, but the company resisted any offers.

“They said, ‘What do you want for the whole bit?’ We were like, ‘We’re not selling the whole bit.’ We weren’t interested in selling to someone who didn’t want to see the (mining) project through,” Connor said. “We were still trying to exhaust every joint strategic partner to come in and see this incredible economic resource.”

But because Nicolet Minerals was spending $200,000 to $250,000 a month and the process would likely have dragged out for several more years, the company decided to sell, he said.

Connor declined to say whether Nicolet Minerals will break even or earn a profit on the deal. However, the value of the property and mineral rights was appraised at between $51.2 million and $94 million last year when Gov. Scott McCallum’s administration considered and rejected a proposal by environmental groups and tribes to use state public land Stewardship money to buy the land.

Jeffrey A. Crawford, attorney general of the Potawatomi Community, said after weeks of negotiations, the money was transferred from the tribes to the company early Tuesday.

He noted that two pending lawsuits over Indian gaming – one filed by legislative Republicans against Gov. Jim Doyle challenging his renewal of gaming compacts and another filed by the owner of a Wisconsin greyhound racetrack – could have a huge financial impact on the tribes if the ruling goes against their interests.

But, Crawford said, tribal members feel so strongly about the need to preserve this land that they still want to go through with the purchase.

Glenn C. Reynolds, an attorney for the Sokaogon Chippewa who will serve as manager of the mining company for the tribe, did not rule out a tribal mining operation at the site if, at some point, the ore can be extracted in a way that the tribes feel is safe for the environment.

“The option of mining at a day and a time without the risks associated with this (Nicolet Minerals Co.) proposal is there,” he said.

As reports circulated last week that the company and tribes were close to a deal, Doyle said the land purchase by the tribes “would be a pretty good way to end the controversy.”

Doyle praises deal
On Tuesday, the governor lauded the deal, saying it “means that environmentally harmful cyanide mining will not take place in the Crandon area.”

Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison), who was a longtime critic of the proposed mine, hailed the purchase by the tribes and praised Connor for agreeing to the sale.

“Action by two Indian tribes is not only a victory for their efforts to preserve their heritage – it is a gift to all the people of Wisconsin who treasure our outdoors,” said Black.

“Gordon Connor also deserves credit for helping to bring an end to a long-contentious chapter in Wisconsin history.”

Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, said the Crandon mine has been subject to an expensive and costly regulatory process for more than 25 years.

He said the various owners of the site have spent tens of millions of dollars and complied with myriad complex state and federal regulations while opponents have made every effort to make Wisconsin’s tough mining laws even tougher.

“While I welcome an end to this controversy and I believe it may inevitably be in the best interest for all parties involved, I hope this is an isolated event in our state’s history and not a new trend to drive other industries out of Wisconsin,” Kedzie said.

From the Oct. 29, 2003 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Updated Information

Monday, July 14, 2003

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge Monday struck down a ban on road building in a third of America’s national forests, saying the Clinton administration rule illegally created wilderness areas — a power reserved for Congress.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer ruled Monday that the Forest Service’s designation of 58.5 million acres of roadless areas nationwide — including 3.5 million acres in Wyoming — was a “thinly veiled attempt to designate ‘wilderness areas’ in violation of the clear and unambiguous process established by the Wilderness Act.”

Only Congress can create wilderness areas under the act.

Interior Says No to New Wilderness Areas
April 11, 2003

Interior Says No to New Wilderness Areas


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Interior Department intends to halt all reviews of its Western land holdings for new
wilderness protection and to withdraw that protected status from some 3 million acres in Utah, it informed
Congress on Friday.

By suspending wilderness reviews, the department would limit the amount of land held by its Bureau of
Land Management eligible for wilderness protection at 22.8 million acres nationwide – a figure that
environmental groups say leaves millions of pristine acres vulnerable to oil and gas development and
off-road vehicle use. Congress, however, could order additional areas protected.

“The Department stands firmly committed to the idea that we can and should manage our public lands to
provide for multiple use, including protection of those areas that have wilderness characteristics,” Interior
Secretary Gale Norton said in a letter sent late Friday to members of Congress.

The wilderness decisions Norton advised Congress about are contained in a legal settlement of a lawsuit
brought by Utah. The settlement must be approved by federal judge in Utah, who also has yet to rule on
efforts by environmentalists to intervene in the case.

Norton said in 1976 Congress gave the Interior Department 15 years to inventory wilderness areas,
and only those areas identified by 1991 as having wilderness characteristics qualified for protection.

But environmental groups objected when they learned of the decisions.

“This administration’s assault on America’s wilderness continues,” said Jim Angell of EarthJustice. “What
they’re saying is these wilderness-quality lands throughout the West will continue to be degraded and
continue to lose their eligibility for wilderness. … It’s just appalling.”

Norton also said she was setting aside the 2001 Wilderness Handbook – a land management policy
implemented in the waning days of the Clinton administration – which required the BLM to protect the
wilderness qualities of lands that could qualify as wilderness areas.

The requirement created millions of acres of de facto wilderness, even though only Congress can make
such designations.

Wilderness areas, as defined by the 1964 Wilderness Act, are those areas “untrammeled by man,” and are
protected from oil and gas development, off-road use, and various types of construction.

The policy changes come as part of a settlement that was to be filed Friday in federal court in Salt Lake City.
Utah had sued the Interior Department in 1996 over a reinventory of 3 million acres conducted by
then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

Most of the lawsuit was dismissed, and it sat dormant for years until the state amended its complaint last

In Utah, specifically, the announcement means that the department will disregard the results of Babbitt’s 1996
reinventory. That inventory identified 5.9 million acres of Utah land that qualified for wilderness protection, 3
million acres more than found in the original inventory during the Reagan administration.

The BLM had been managing the land to preserve its wilderness characteristics. Now it can be used
according to the land-use plans that had been prepared previously by the BLM, which could include
mining and recreation. Norton noted that wildness quality areas also could be protected in land use plans
without ever being designed as wildness areas.

“It looks like Interior agrees with me and my Western colleagues that the BLM does not have the authority to
designate new wilderness study areas, … doesn’t have authority beyond what Congress gave it,” said Sen.
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “Secretary Norton’s actions will bring resolution to the illegal activities of the past

This was the second time this week that the department has made a major policy announcement
resulting from secret settlement negotiations with the state. On Wednesday, Norton and Utah Gov. Mike
Leavitt agreed to a process for transferring disputed roads across federal lands to state ownership.

I posted the above to show everyone that what is stated below is still on going so keep writing those letters and support mining.

During Presidents Clinton’s final days in office, he used the Antiquities Act, enacted by Congress in 1906 to Designate a total of 21 National Monuments, 15 of which were on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
When President Bush took office he placed several of President Clinton’s Executive Orders on hold and they were never published by the GPO, pending review. It was believed that there was a very short time to take action, however the events of 2002 apparently slowed the process. Just last month one of the areas was redefined by the Bush Administration. I have been told that the BLM areas are still under review, so I know there is still time to act.


Early last year Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, had said that Clinton’s last-second monument designations will stand because there had been no outcry from property rights advocates. In fact, the American Policy Center had received word from a White House insider that property rights advocates are going to be rolled on the monuments issue unless the White House and Gale Norton hear from the grassroots in a major way NOW! The greens have a massive effort underway to pressure the White House to make certain that Clinton’s monuments stand.

Given the above information and the time line of last year with one area being revised just last month, this means we all still have time.

You must either Email or write both Secretary Norton and President Bush with a copy to your elected representatives in Washington, showing your concern on these issues. Given the events of September 11, I would recommend the use of Email as your first choice.

These land grabs must be reversed. These monuments shut the American public out of their land. Permanently! These monuments kill local industries, seal off valuable natural resources, take away potential jobs, cripple whole towns, take away your right to use public lands for recreation like skiing and rape private property rights. But Gale Norton and others won’t act unless they are pressured from property rights advocates.

You must write your letters now, before it is too late. If you don’t, the administration will not act, plain and simple.
We would be handing the radical environmentalists a victory. A VICTORY THAT THEY DON T DESERVE!

If you care about the rapid decline of property rights and land uses in America, it is imperative that you write your letters immediately. If not, the greens will set the agenda for the Bush administration starting with the permanent designations of the Clinton Monuments!

Notices published April 24, 2002 in the Federal Register formally started the planning at many monuments and provide for a minimum 60 day formal scoping period to identify issues to consider and analyze regarding management at each monument. These notices are available online at Interior Secretary Makes Plans to Manage National Monuments Each notice has the contact information for each area.

Actual acreage of lands that might be taken from the public and private industry by Clinton’s last minute attempts to appease the greenies are spelled out in detail at the above link.

Clinton-designated the following BLM monuments:
Agua Fria (AZ)
California Costal (CA)
Canyons of the Ancients (CO)
Carrizo Plain (CA)
Cascade-Siskiyou (OR)<<<Tuesday 05-21-02 “The Bush administration is reopening about a million acres of federal land in Southwest Oregon to new mining claims. It is some 90 percent of the 1.093 acres of Siskiyou National Forest and 151,970 acres of Land Management land included in a temporary moratorium proposed by the Clinton Adminstration just before it left office early in 2001.”

Craters of the Moon (ID) (Co-managed by the Park Service)
Grand Canyon-Parshant (AZ)
Grand Staircase-Escalante (UT)
Ironwood Forest (AZ)
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks (NM)
Pompeys Pillar (MT)
Santa Rosa/San Jacinto Mountains (CA)
Sonoran Desert (AZ)
Upper Missouri River Breaks (MT)
Vermillion Cliffs (AZ)
Clinton-designated the following monuments on other federal lands:
Anderson Cottage (DC) – managed by the National Park Service
Buck Island Reef (VI) – managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Giant Sequoia (CA) – managed by the U.S. Forest Service
Hanford Reach (WA) – managed by the National Park Service
Pinnacles (CA) – managed by the National Park Service
U.S. Virgin Island Coral Reef (VI) – managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

What is the Antiquities Act?
The Antiquities Act, enacted by Congress in 1906, is an important tool for protecting some of our nations most special public lands. This act gives the President the authority to grant National Monument status to areas possessing significant, historical, cultural, scenic and/or scientific values. This conservation tool has been used by every former U.S. President since Teddy Roosevelt, except Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Bush.
The Antiquities Act states, “The President of the United States is authorized in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be National Monuments, and may reserve as a part there of parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
Note, I underlined the wording that is very important here, since preliminary figures I have, list several million acres may be involved. It would appear that President Clinton clearly did not follow the intent of the law.