No Open-Pit Mining in Wisconsin

 

 

 

Please sign the petition against weakening Wisconsin's environmental regulations! 

 

 

   

 

 

 Tyler Forks. Photo by Joel Austin.
 

Write against the mine!

One of the easiest and most impactful things you can do about mining is to help sway public opinion by writing a letter to the editor. Most people would probably be against mining if they knew its full consequences for communities and the environment; you can help tell them. In the age of the internet, it has become popular for organizations to have online petition forms that can submit a generic statement to lawmakers, companies, or the media, but while these only take five minutes to fill out, they are also easy to ignore and don't really reach the public. There is no substitute for a good old fashioned letter to the editor, and if you're familiar with the format, it doesn't take long to dash one out. Below are some suggestions and examples.

 

Guidelines for writing letters to the editor on the mine issue:

 

1. Focus on one thing you know about mining or the specific project. Make this your message, and write a succinct headline that makes it clear. See below for possible topics.

Example: “Iron mining will kill wetlands.”

 

2. Start the letter with “To the Editor:”

 

3. Use a “hook” in your first sentence, a statement that says your message and why people should care.

Example: “Open-pit iron mining in the Penokee Hills is not worth the risk it poses to wetlands on Lake Superior.”

 

4. Provide supporting information. Include 2-3 verifiable facts (not opinion statements), or use a story from your personal experience that testifies to your point.

Example: “Forty percent of Lake Superior’s total wetlands lie at the mouth of the BadRiver, downstream from the proposed mine. In addition to abundant wildlife, the wetlands hold among the largest wild rice beds in North America, a critical cultural resource for the Anishinaabe people. In Minnesota, wild rice has been wiped out a hundred miles downstream of the Mesabi Range iron mines.

Example: “Last fall, I was invited to harvest wild rice with a member of the Bad River Band of Anishiinabe. Poling through the emerald paddies, watching waterfowl munch floating grains newly fallen from their stalks, I felt connected to the earth, working for my food but far from the anxiety and stress of my industrial job. I came to see how important these marshes are for wildlife and the people who rely on traditional lifeways for their survival.

 

5. State why readers should care about the issue.

Example: “Iron mining upstream from the wetlands where the BadRiver meets Lake Superior could kill the wild rice and harm wildlife and people who rely on it spiritually and economically. Traditional harvesting is a treaty right that trumps the right of corporations to mine under federal law.  It is also a sacred occupation that industrial mining jobs might destroy, but cannot replace.

 

6. Re-state your message in a final sentence or two.

Example: “Mining will irreparably harm our wetlands. The profits of mining corporations should not take precedence over the environment and traditional ways of life.”

 

7. End with your name and contact information. If you are representing a group (and have the group’s approval to do so), add the group name one line down from your name. Include your mailing address, phone number, and e-mail. Different media outlets have different procedures, but most will want to contact you to verify that you are the letter’s writer.

 

8. Proofread and spell-check your writing. Make sure you are brief and to the point. Most newspapers like to keep letters under 400 words, unless you’re writing it as an op-ed.

 

9. Send it! Look up your local media outlet and e-mail or snail mail your letter to them. Consider sending it to several different media outlets. Prioritize those in your region, but don’t be shy about sending it to others around the state. Also send a copy to diane@wnpj.org so we know our members are active on the issue!

 

Possible Open-Pit Mining Topics

  • Threat to streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands
  • Threat to groundwater and artesian wells
  • Threat to wildlife (habitat, migration corridors)
  • Threat to air quality of industrial machinery and infrastructure
  • Threat to the climate
  • Threat to hunting, fishing, and tourism
  • Threat to traditional and sustainable economies
  • Threat to sacred sites and cultural resources
  • Aesthetic scarring of the landscape
  • Corporate exploitation of mineral wealth motivated by profit, seeks to minimize costs
  • Environmental justice and treaty rights
  • Legislative rollback of environmental protections and local control
  • Cost of reclamation and who pays (financial assurance)
  • Boom/bust nature of mining economies (the Resource Curse)
  • Impacts of mining on future generations
  • Others...