Photo: Defenders of the Harvest and Education Learning Project protest against mining at an Iron County Board meeting in 2013
Resolutions calling on the state to repeal the 2013 iron mining law, refuse any mining permits to Gogebic Taconite on state constitutional grounds, and undertake greater monitoring and oversight of air emissions at frac sand mines were each introduced by citizens at the Conservation Congress Spring Hearings in more than a third of Wisconsin's 72 counties, and passed by at least a 2:1 margin statewide! This huge success was due to the efforts of dozens of people around the state--many of whom had never been to a Conservation Congress hearing before this year--coordinated by WNPJ and the Sierra Club.
Concerned citizens around the state will introduce three mining-related resolutions at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring hearings, which take place on Monday, April 14, 7pm at locations in all 72 counties in the state. Volunteers are needed to introduce these resolutions in some counties, and everyone is encouraged to attend the hearings to support these resolutions. Click "Read more..." for info on how to volunteer.
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.
About 50 people gathered on Sunday, February 16, to call on Gogebic Taconite to respect the rights of the Bad River Ojibwe and halt all mining activity in the Penokee Hills. Those who were present crossed the boundary into Managed Forest land officially deemed "closed" under a special law passed for G-Tac's benefit last fall, allowing them to close off land around a mine site that would normally allow public access without paying significant tax penalties required of all other MFL landowners.
Two groups marched from either end of the site along State Highway 77 to converge on the access road being used by G-Tac for exploratory drilling and bulk sampling activity. The group sang songs and people walked into the sunny, snow-filled woods along the access road, an old railroad siding. Although everyone who came crossed into the "forbidden zone," no police showed up and nobody was cited for trespassing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for groups to sign on is January 8. Individuals who wish to sign on may do so at this petition.