Tribes Opposed to Mining in Wisconsin and Michigan


Citizen Voices Matter in the Penokee Hills

The legal firm Midwest Environmental Advocates has put together a beautiful collection of testimonials against environmental destruction from the Penokee Mine and other profit-driven industrial activities. These include the members of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe featured below. To see more of their videos, check out their Citizen Voices Matter website.

Toxic tar sands oil threaten WI waters, Great Lakes

"Proposals for a massive expansion of tar sands crude oil shipments on and around the Great Lakes do not make sense," writes WNPJ member Eric Hansen in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Canadian company Enbridge is trying to "quietly network thousands of miles of pipelines -- a system that would lock in both Wisconsin and our region as a major transportation corridor to ship tar sands crude oil overseas to the world market for decades to come."  At risk are "Lakes Superior and Michigan as well as the Bois Brule, Namekagon, Chippewa, Wisconsin, Fox and Rock rivers."

"Profit and jobs would go to Canada. Crude oil would go overseas. Toxic risk would stay here, sprinkled throughout our region in the crude oil spills, air quality and public health impacts," adds Hansen.

On July 14, the Oil and Water Don't Mix rally (featuring 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben) in Michigan will call attention to the dangers of tar sands oil to the upper Midwest.  There will be a bus leaving from Green Bay -- click here for details.

Timelines debated in WI Senate mining hearings

The recently formed Wisconsin Senate Select Committee on Mining held three hearings on current mining law.  Much of the focus, as Rebecca Kemble reports for the Progressive, was on timelines for the permitting process.

"Republican legislators pushing AB 426 last session claimed that mining companies needed better timelines and more certainty in the permitting process in order to invest in mining activities in Wisconsin," writes Kemble.

The Man Behind the Mine

Our friends at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign have been looking into the Cline Group, Florida billionaire Chris Cline's coal mining company that owns Gogebic Taconite and wants to put an open-pit iron mine in northern Wisconsin. Tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Scott Walker, Mark Honadel, and other public officials are only part of the story.

Tell Milwaukee Mining Company: Back off El Salvador!

Should a Milwaukee mining company be able to sue the government of El Salvador for enforcing its environmental policies and protecting the health of its people?  The Midwest Coalition against Lethal Mineral Mining (MCALM) says no!  Join their call-in to Milwaukee-based Commerce Group :

Please call the Commerce Group's Milwaukee office phone (414) 462-5310 and tell them to drop the lawsuit against the government of El Salvador. If you can't get through, send them an email at info@commercegroupcorp.com.  Contact Al Gedicks - for more information - 608-784-4399.

Swiss announce plan to phase out nuke plants

The Swiss Cabinet announced today a plan to completely phase out the country's use of nuclear power in favor of wind, solar and other renewables. The announcement comes days after an estimated 20,000 people took part in the biggest anti-nuclear protest in Switzerland in 25 years. The recommendation  will be debated in parliament, which is expected to make a final decision next month. If approved, Switzerland's five nuclear reactors would go offline between 2019 and 2034 after they reach their average lifespan of 50 years. Switzerland now gets about 40% of its electricity from nuclear power. Full story here...

Successes for the Wisconsin River and Vermont

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.

Stop the Frac Attack on Local Democracy, Take 2!

Sen. Tom Tiffany has introduced a revised version of SB349, the "Kneecapping Local Communities Bill" from last session that took aim at the rights of rural communities to pass ordinances regulating frac sand mining and other industrial activities that impact the environment and public health. In response to the bill and the explosion of frac sand mines in the state, 75 groups signed onto a resolution by WNPJ's Environmental Working Group calling for a halt to the mining and attacks on local control. Tiffany's revised bill, SB632, narrows the scope to preventing local governments from enacting any regulations that prevent new frac sand mining or the expansion of existing mines. A public hearing on the bill will take place on Monday, March 3, at 12 noon in Room 412 East of the State Capitol. The Wisconsin Farmer's Union will also hold a Farm and Rural Lobby Day the next day, March 4, and this will be one of the issues.

Stop the Frac Attack on Local Democracy!

Citizens rally against frac sand mining bill

Photo courtesy of Stacy Harbaugh, Midwest Environmental Advocates
A rally of around 200 people organized in part by WNPJ took place at the State Capitol on Thursday, Oct. 24 to protest SB 349, introduced by State Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Joan Ballweg. SB 349 would take away local governments' ability to pass ordinances to protect their air and water, regulate blasting, and recoup costs to taxpayers from industrial use of local roads. A public hearing on the bill lasted from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Many citizens from western Wisconsin who spent hours on a bus to get to and from Madison were not allowed to speak before they had to return home, while representatives of frac sand mining companies and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce got first billing from Tiffany & company.
While Assembly speaker Robin Vos has said that house will not take up the bill this session, it could be passed by the Senate now and voted on by the Assembly in the spring. The legislation was introduced at the behest of frac sand companies seeking to permit new mines quickly, with no regulation or government oversight. But the impact of the bill goes far beyond communities dealing with frac sand; it takes away local democracy from everyone in Wisconsin

Stop G-Tac's Bulk Sampling Permit!

On June 17, along with a Pre-Application Notice, Gogebic Taconite applied for a permit to do bulk sampling, a 'mini-mining' process of taking thousands of tons of rock as a sample to characterize the iron deposit before the main G-Tac mine is begun.

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