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Submitted by staff on Fri, 11/08/2013 - 11:17am
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.
Submitted by staff on Tue, 10/22/2013 - 6:16pm
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.
Submitted by staff on Wed, 08/28/2013 - 11:47am
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.
Submitted by staff on Sun, 08/11/2013 - 8:21am
Submitted by staff on Fri, 07/05/2013 - 10:20am
"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.
Submitted by staff on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 11:16am
Thanks to decades of informed advocacy by Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) and others, the WI Department of Natural Resources is supporting the most thorough clean-up option for contaminated soil at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo.
"Keeping in mind the future use of the site as the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, this cleanup is protective of human health for even the most sensitive populations," a DNR official told the Wisconsin State Journal.
The DNR will hold a public open house on June 26 at 6 p.m. at the Ruth Culver Library, 540 Water St., Prairie du Sac. "We are taking the extra step of holding this open house because of the widespread interest and the long history of public involvement in the Badger cleanup effort," explained the DNR's regional director.
Submitted by staff on Fri, 05/31/2013 - 4:22pm
Submitted by staff on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 1:16pm
"After the passage of Act 1 [the Bad River Watershed Destruction Act], one of the last protections for ecologically critical watersheds in gold and base metal exploration areas in Oneida, Taylor and Marathon counties is the Mining Moratorium Law," write Al Gedicks of WNPJ member group Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (and former WNPJ Board member) and Dave Blouin of the Sierra Club in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Yet mining companies have said their top priority is repealing Wisconsin's mining moratorium - also called the "prove it first" law.
"That the North American mining industry cannot meet the Moratorium Law is a problem of its own making and purely reflects the fact that mining metallic sulfide ores remains proven to be unsafe," add Gedicks and Blouin. "Our clean air and drinking water and the critical habitats and healthy environment we all depend on are threatened by the mining industry's so-called reforms."