Skip to comments.Wisconsin lawmakers ask Gogebic Taconite to remove armed guards
Posted on 07/09/2013 11:39:27 AM PDT by Sopater
Two Wisconsin lawmakers have asked the president of Gogebic Taconite to remove armed security guards from the companys proposed mining site in Ashland and Iron counties.
Bob Seitz, Gogebic Taconite spokesman, told the News Tribune that the company began employing private security guards after teams of mining opponents dressed in black and wearing masks violently attacked our drill site in June.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, on Monday sent a letter to Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams, calling on him to immediately remove the heavily armed masked commando security unit recently hired to protect the companys property in the Penokee Hills.
Several photographs of armed guards dressed in military-style camouflage and combat gear, apparently working for the Arizona-based Bulletproof Securities Force, have appeared on anti-mining blogs in recent days. In one photo, one of the guards, armed with an assault-style rifle, appears to be masked.
The lawmakers called the photos horrifying and the action by the company to hire the high-security Arizona firm appalling.
These kinds of security forces are common in Third World countries but they dont belong in northern Wisconsin, Jauch and Bewley said in a press
The company is now conducting test drills, working toward construction of Wisconsins first modern taconite mining operations, including an open-pit iron ore mine and processing plant.
The project was pushed by Wisconsin Republicans as a way to create jobs in the region but is opposed by several Ojibwe and environmental groups and activists who say the project will damage the environment. The company reported several incidents last month with drilling crews confronting mining opponents at the drilling sites. One woman was charged after an altercation over a camera.
Seitz said opponents erected roadblocks to slow the response of local law enforcement officials, spurring the company to hire round-the-clock security.
Sen. Jauch is entitled to his opinion. But I would have hoped he would be more interested in the safety of Wisconsin workers on the companys mine sites, Seitz said.
He would not confirm or deny that Bulletproof is the company providing the security guards. He said Gogebic had no intention of removing the guards or hiring a more moderate force to do the job.
We have to protect our workers, Seitz said.
Although the security guards are at Iron County drill sites, one drill hole was in Ashland County. Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan told Wisconsin Public Radio he doesnt see the need for the assault-style rifles.
Yeah, it always concerns law enforcement any time we have someone who is carrying a firearm, open carry or not, Brennan said. My concern if it was in Ashland County is the need for it and what the circumstances that maybe prompted them to change their security forces that they have.
Jauch and Bewley acknowledged the companys right to protect its property, but they called the decision to hire the security firm an effort to intimidate citizens. No one in their right mind can justify the excessive force. These individuals are not deputized; they cant arrest anyone. What they can do is unjustifiably scare people, and that appears to be your intention.
Jauch and Bewley added that the company could improve its relationship with local residents by reversing its decision.
What are these people thinking? Only gov't "law enforcement" are allowed to dress this way.
We’ll remove one full time security guard for every full time cop you place at our facility.
Any day your cops aren’t there full time, we’ll provide our own security thankyouverymuchokbyebye...
Carrying a legal weapon on private property is "excessive force" apparently.
Yet it’s AOK for local “police” and the DHS to have APC “rescue vehicles”.
I saw one of these tanks in a local 4th parade and it angered me to no end. There is no reason for a local police department to have a tank.
Looks like your typical midwestern turkey hunter to me. I wonder if those are too scary to allow in the woods?
I hope the guards are highly trained and aren’t trigger happy. If they shoot any protester it will be on the MSM 24/7, no matter if it was necessary or not. Hopefully someone will enlighten me about what kind of force the guards can use in Wisconsin.
Well, what are they supposed to do? Give those exorbitant property taxes back if they've collected money than they need for standard equipment? That's free money for toys!
I’ve seen the same getup at a paintball range.
What mineral is Gogebic Taconite?
Its a type of iron ore I believe.
No, having "teams of mining opponents dressed in black and wearing masks violently attack(ing) our drill site is horrifying and needs to be dealt with swiftly and with determination.
Private industry protecting itself doesn't bother me as long as they conform to the law.
Kinda reminds me of the McCawley Mines of Defiance.
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