This is the text of an email sent by Department of Natural Resources Deputy Matt Moroney to staffers about a small protest yesterday by opponents of mining in Northern Wisconsin held at the agency's Wausau office. The email also explains agency procedures and plans to handle additional protests:
From: Moroney, Matt S - DNR
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6:54 AM
Subject: Possible Mining Protests at DNR Service Center
Good morning everyone – To keep you informed and aware, I would like to share with you the details of a small protest incident that took place at the Wausau DNR Service Center yesterday afternoon related to mining in northern Wisconsin.
At approximately 1:45 PM yesterday, a small contingent of protestors who oppose the mine (approximately 7-12 people) gathered at the Wausau DNR Service Center to voice their disapproval of mining in northern Wisconsin.
They made their way into the lobby area and began yelling and using profanities. The group was not violent; however, they did attempt to make their way into the non-public areas of the office and were stopped by staff.Some members of the group climbed onto the rooftop and nailed a protest banner to the roof. The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office was called and the protestors were ordered out of the building without incident.
No arrests were made as of this time. The Wausau DNR staff did an excellent job of managing the situation and dealing with the loud and profane group.
I applaud their professionalism and decision-making during this protest. It is not known if any other DNR Service Centers will experience similar protest behavior. Customer Service and Licensing supervisors and wardens have been informed of the incident.
There are no indications that violent or aggressive behavior is to be expected, but we want you to be aware of this incident in the event similar incidents take place at other DNR Offices. Should you experience a similar protest at your DNR Office:
- If you have a similar protest and you have on onsite warden, please notify the warden or call 911 for assistance if protestors become disorderly or disruptive to DNR business operations.
- Do not remain in a situation that you perceive as threatening, simply call law enforcement take actions necessary to secure your safety which includes leaving the building if necessary. Law Enforcement officers will manage the situation.
- Remember…the public does have a Constitutional right to freedom of speech. However, while exercising this right, protesters do not have a right to disrupt the operations of government or engage in disorderly conduct. Please contact a warden supervisor or the Bureau of Legal Services for guidance if a protestor is mainly passive and non-disruptive to DNR business operations (i.e. does not warrant a 911 call).
- The Bureau of Law Enforcement is coordinating closely with the Capitol Police and other law enforcement authorities in drafting an action plan for managing mining protest incidents.
More information about action plans will likely be coming from the Bureau of Law Enforcement. Thanks for all you do and the professional manner in which you do it!
P Matt MoroneyDeputy SecretaryWisconsin Department of Natural Resources