Just a day after saying it would keep an armed security detail in place at its exploratory drilling sites in northern Wisconsin, Gogebic Taconite announced it was asking some of those guards to stand down.
The decision comes after it was discovered the Arizona company providing the guards, Bulletproof Securities, was not licensed to operate in Wisconsin. Gogebic officials say it has asked the company to withdraw its staff until it obtains the proper state license. The company does still have other security staff in place.
The presence of the guards drew fire this week because of photos that began circulating over the weekend, showing camouflaged guards carrying assault-style rifles. Gogebic says the security is needed because of protesters vandalized one of the company’s work sites last month. The company wants to build an open pit iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties, which many living in the region argue could cause widespread environmental damage.