Gogebic Taconite, a mining company, has hired a private security agency after an altercation with environmentalist protesters at a Wisconsin site. The hiring of the paramilitary guards, who are equipped with semi-automatic weapons, has seriously distressed two state legislators.
“I’m appalled,” a Democratic state senator said. “There is no evidence to justify their presence.”
When asked whether the company would keep the guards, Gogebic Taconite’s spokesman laughed. He explained that his firm hired the Bulletproof Securities guards to monitor the company’s land, which is trespassed on by illegal campers — vandals that oppose the mine. Another representative for the company explained, “We have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.” Last month, an anti-mine protester was charged with robbery with use of force and three misdemeanors.
The site has been the center of controversy since state Republican lawmakers approved a bill in March to allow an iron-ore mine in northern Wisconsin.