RHINELANDER, WI (WXPR) - The Oneida County Board has defeated a resolution to eliminate a Mining Oversight Committee.
In August, the county voted to end the pursuit of mining at a deposit in the town of Lynne. Supervisor Paul Dean authored a resolution which would have stricken the language authorizing the committee from the county rules.
Emotions ran strong in public comment portions leading to the vote, just like they did in August when the board voted to end it's pursuit of a mine in the town of Lynne.
Mining opponent Karl Fate felt keeping the committee was a subtle attempt to keep the door open to mining, even after the vote in August. "If this issue were to come up again in any form, it would be a mistake to have the current language on the books. The current language concentrates too much decision making and too much power in the hands of too few."
Former Lac du Flambeau tribal vice-president member Dee Ann Allen backed the ending of the committee. She said, "Just keep in mind our message was very clear, that our tribe will not stand down to the mining issue, or any other issue affecting our ceded territory or our resources for our kids and their future generations."
But supervisor Tom Rudolph said not having the committee would be a mistake. "Supporting this resolution does not mean that we're turning down mining altogether. This resolution has nothing to do with whether we're going to be mining or not." Rudolph said the resolution only asked to eliminate the committee from the county code.
The board split 9-9 with three members absent. A tie vote means the resolution to eliminate the committee was defeated.