By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer

WAUSAU, Wis – A pro-mining lobbying firm has claimed ownership of an advertised post that hit the Facebook feeds of Marathon County residents last weekend.

Officials with the Natural Resources Development Association contacted the Wausau Pilot and Review and the South Metro Observer on Tuesday requesting to address information contained in the story that was posted on Sunday in the Pilot.

Communications director Nathan Conrad says his organization was the one to purchase the advertising with Facebook and set up the webpage at Marathon Mining Jobs.

“My digital team, they launched before they were supposed to,” he said. “So unfortunately that’s part of the reason that these Facebook ads and that website went up without having all of the Natural Resources Development Association pieces on it.”

That sponsored post and the website both ran on Facebook feeds from Saturday through Tuesday without any branding from the NRDA and without any way to contact the creators. Between Sunday and the time of this writing, the website has since been updated with branding and links to the NRDA’s other website, Develop Our Resources.

Marathon Mining Jobs is also registered through a special web site based in Toronto that keeps the owners of websites private by masking their registration. Conrad says that is coincidental.

“The sites were purchased through Google, and that’s the way they had them done,” Conrad said. “Those sites are actually owned by the Natural Resources Development Association.”

The county’s Land Conservation and Zoning committee is set to have another public hearing on a proposed mining ordinance on at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 in the county board chambers on the first floor at the courthouse.