We're very sad to hear, via member group PSR-Wisconsin, that Dr. Jeff Patterson, a warm and wise man devoted to human health, the environment, and the abolition of nuclear weapons, has passed. Below is PSR's statement on his loss.
Jeff Patterson, DO, Madison physician and professor was an indefatigable champion serving Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Wisconsin and will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him. Jeff passed away on Thursday night, January 23, of a heart attack.
Dr. Patterson's first work with PSR was to establish the Madison PSR chapter. With two other founding members and students at the UW medical school, they challenged the concept of a “winnable nuclear war.” Hundreds of people joined to formalize the Madison PSR chapter in 1983. Jeff remained very active in the chapter throughout three decades, and particularly enjoyed providing direction to interested medical students and nurturing their understanding of humanitarian ethics and activism.
To: Larry Lynch, WI DNR
Dear Mr. Lynch,
This is being posted publicly as an open letter. I urge you to share these comments with colleagues and halt G-Tac’s attempt to do bulk sampling with inadequate preparation and precautions in place.
The WNPJ Environmental Working Group has put together a resolution telling state lawmakers and the media that the citizens of Wisconsin are fed up with frac sand mining threatening our state's environment, quality of life, and local democracy. We are looking for groups from around the state and around the country to sign on to this resolution. If you would like to sign on, please e-mail email@example.com. The deadline for groups to sign on is January 8. Individuals who wish to sign on may do so at this petition.
Photo: Cobre Las Cruces copper mine, owned by Canada-based First Quantum Minerals, in 2008 after its walls collapsed. The mine was under the direction of now-GTac president Bill Williams, who ignored government reports that the walls were unstable. (Credit: Ecologistas en Acción)
On November 25, Gogebic Taconite submitted a new bulk sampling plan to the Wisconsin DNR. If the DNR approves this plan, it will be the go-ahead for G-Tac to start blasting the asbestos-filled rock in the Penokee Hills. Among other gems, the plan contains the statement that "no groundwater has been identified at the bulk sample sites" (in the very moist Penokee Hills).
Gogebic Taconite's claims that they can mine the Penokee Hills safely is an insult to the intelligence of Wisconsinites. While many DNR employees are competent and professional, the company is likely to collude with the agency's politically-appointed heads to force the plan to be approved quickly, possibly before the public has a chance to respond.
A bill that would block public access to the land in the Penokee Hills where Gogebic Taconite wants to build an open-pit iron mine was passed by the state Senate last week and is expected to move through the Assembly soon (Call your Representative now!). Introduced in August, SB 278 has been roundly condemned by environmentalists, Native Americans, hunters, and tax fairness advocates as another giveaway to G-Tac by their bought-and-paid-for elected officials.
Last week, the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board voted 6 to 2 against a frac sand mine proposed next to the Wisconsin River, near the Iowa border.
Those who spoke at the Board's meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to the mine, as were the Board members themselves.
"The members felt that visual intrusions from potential dust and lighting would cause the activity to become visible from the river," explained the Board's director.
In other good environmental news, Entergy announced it would close its Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor at the end of 2014. The nuclear company said the reactor was "no longer financially viable."
Wisconsin's Kewaunee nuclear reactor was shut down in May, also due to economic factors.