Since 2011, the controversy surrounding a proposed iron mine in northern Wisconsin’s Penokee mountain range has split the state into two camps: those who see the construction of the $1.5 billion open-pit mine by West Virginia-based Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) as a financial boon for the area, and those who see it as a defilement of a pristine natural resource. A bill signed by Gov. Walker in 2013 seemed to make the construction of the mine inevitable, but the divide has only deepened. Area Native American tribes and other residents and activists intensified their opposition, while GTAC went so far as to hire an out-of-state security company to patrol the Penokee forests. More than a year later, the controversy continues to build, with no end in sight.
Now, a new investigative piece for Al Jazeera America will dig deep into the proposed Taconite mine and the debate surrounding it. “Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff” will premiere Saturday, June 14 as part of Al Jazeera America’s Fault Line series. According to a press release, the 25-minute documentary will spend time with those who oppose the mine (the Bad River Chippewa tribe and Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch) and those who support it (the Iron County Mining Impact Committee and GTAC Director of External Affairs Bob Seitz). It also promises to investigate the influence of outside money (the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity), and tell a story “about money and power versus environmental concerns and a way of life for thousands of local residents.”
“Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff” is produced by Milwaukee production company 371 Productions, who also produced the Emmy-nominated As Goes Janesville for PBS. The program airs Saturday, June 14 at 6 p.m. CT.