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County board panel wants action against Wis. mine protesters

Hurley (AP) — An Iron County Board committee is recommending criminal or civil action against a group opposed to an iron ore mine which has set up camp on county forest land.

The camp organized by the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has occupied a site near the proposed mine since mid-May. It has become a meeting place for those opposed to Gogebic Taconite’s mining plans.

County forestry administrator Joe Vairus said the encampment has grown to 20 to 25 wigwams and has become a squatters village. Vairus said the camp is violating county ordinances by occupying without a permit.

District Attorney Martty Lipske told the Journal Sentinel other issues complicate the matter, including the tribe’s treaty rights which allow special privileges for land use.

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