Marathon Co. board approves mining ordinance - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Marathon Co. board approves mining ordinance

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

The Marathon County board approved an ordinance that would regulate mining in the county. The vote comes just several months before a new law goes into effect that would allow mining of copper and gold in Wisconsin.

"I think its an important first step," said County Board Supervisor John Robinson.

Several public hearings have been held by the county, with numerous residents and environmentalists speaking out against mining.

"There's been approximately five hours of public testimony, 40 people have testified and we've received an additional 26 written comments," said Corporation Counsel Scott Corbett.

A gold deposit, known as the Easton Reef Deposit is near the Eau Claire River, which has drawn criticism for potential mining. County officials said they can't stop the mining from happening, all they can do is put regulations in place to protect the county and residents if someone decides to mine the deposit.

"In the event a mining company comes we can do what we're allowed under state law to protect the people of Marathon County," said Corbett.

The ordinance creates numerous financial obligations to any potential mining company, icluding being responsible for any road problems, property value changes and well water contamination.

While many are against mining, others have argued that mining would bring jobs into the county.

The county board spent around an hour and a half debating amendments to the ordinance. They have until July to make any changes. The board also voted to create a metallic mining committee.

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