State regulators have granted a license to a firm that started using armed guards, clad in camouflage, at the site of a potential iron mine.
Last month, the company’s guards began patrolling the site in northern Wisconsin, wearing camouflage, and in some cases, face masks, and carrying high-powered weapons.
The guards were pulled, after it became known that the security company did not have the license required to operate in Wisconsin.
Mine opponents were outraged when they came across the guards, saying the guards were meant to intimidate protesters.
The company planning the mine, Gogebic Taconite, said the guards were necessary, because protesters have damaged property and acted in a threatening manner to workers.
Environmentalists say the mine will pollute the air and water. Gogebic Taconite, and state lawmakers who support the mine, say the state’s regulations are sufficient to protect the environment.