Marinette County takes another step forward in regulating any future metallic mining activity. The county’s Development Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed moratorium that would prohibit the development of non-ferrous metallic mines within the county for a period of 18-months while the county works to establish an official ordinance on mining. The controversial Wisconsin Act 134 takes effect in July and repeals the “Prove it First” law requiring those applying for mining permits to give evidence of a mine in the US or Canada that has operated for 10 years and a mine that has been closed for 10 years without polluting the environment. More than a dozen residents spoke at Tuesday’s hearing and all were in favor of the moratorium. Scott Lindquist is a Menominee resident. He commended the board for taking on the issue and says citizen rights advocacy must start at the local level.
County Administrator Jon Lefebvre, who first introduced the idea of creating a moratorium, cautioned the committee against approving the document before Corporation Counsel could consult with them. He says a letter received from the Wisconsin Counties Association carefully details the findings of necessity that must exist when drafting a moratorium.
Despite Lefebvre’s warning, County Board Chairman Mark Anderson felt Counsel should address the county board as a whole and said the board could refer the moratorium back to the committee should any revisions be necessary. The Committee unanimously approved forwarding the moratorium to the county board for final consideration.