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Gogebic Taconite calling for help dealing with protesters

ASHLAND, WI (WTAQ) - Gogebic Taconite says about a dozen protesters are camping without permission, close to where the firm is conducting early drilling for a new iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz says protestors are walking on the mining site and yelling threats to workers. That was about a week after protestors caused about $2,000 in vandalism damage. A worker’s cell phone was stolen in that incident.

The proposed mining site in Ashland and Iron counties includes public recreation land.

Seitz tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that something needs to be done to keep intruders away – or else there could be more vandalism.

On Tuesday, Assembly Republican Mark Honadel of South Milwaukee put an item into the new state budget to address the issue. It was not clear whether the proposed limits would affect land other than the Gogebic Taconite mining site.

Honadel says tensions cannot escalate any more than they already have. He said he hopes the DNR can do something, “before someone gets shot up there.”

Senate Democrat Bob Jauch, who represents the place where the mine would go, says Republicans are, “overreacting to the illegal actions of a few who haven’t been seen or heard from since.”