Environment/Energy

Hundreds pack hearing on mining bill

A bill to weaken environmental protections to in order to rush through a mining project in northern Wisconsin drew a standing-room-only crowd in West Allis this week, with commenters registering more than 2-1 against the legislation. Mike Wiggins, Jr., chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior warned that the proposed mine in Wisconsin's Penokee hills "would destroy the Bad River watershed and the band's way of life." Wiggins added: "Unfortunately, this proposed legislation is a cruel hoax. No one should be fooled by the claim that it is about jobs. If anything, iron or taconite mining in the Bad River watershed near Lake Superior will probably destroy more existing local jobs in the tourism, forestry, fishing, and natural resource sectors than it would ever create." Read more...

Hundreds attend Save Our Water - No Unsafe Mines rally

Saturday's rally in support of clean water, treaty rights, Wisconsin's "prove it first" mining safeguards and a healthy, sustainable economy drew hundreds of people to the state Capitol.

"The bill that's before the legislature now sets a very dangerous precedent for our state's environmental laws," WNPJ's Carl Sack told WXOW from La Crosse.  Other media covering the rally included WORT 89.9 FM, the Badger Herald and Daily Cardinal.

In related news, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows that supporters of mining deregulation gave Governor Walker $11.34 million and state legislators $4.25 million since 2010.

Photo:  Members of the Bad River Tribe address the crowd at the state Capitol on January 26.  Click here to see other pictures from the rally.

How Clintonville booms may save Wisconsin

"So it was a 1.5 magnitude earthquake, not an alien invasion or giant gophers, that's been making those mysterious noises in Clintonville, we're told," writes WNPJ member (and former Board co-chair) Bill Christofferson.

"Well and good. Let's hope those microquakes stop.

"And let's hope this also means that Wisconsin's Wolf River Batholith (the purple area on the map, click to enlarge) will come off the list of potential radioactive waste sites once and for all."

Read the entire article, here.

Host a Penokee Photo Show!

The WNPJ office now has four beautiful large-format photographs by Joel Austin and a large map of the Penokees, where G-Tac has proposed a huge open-pit iron mine, that are looking for display space. Help us show the public what's special about the pristine Penokee Hills and spread the word about how devastating mining would be to this beautiful area. Contact carl@wnpj.org for more information.

Hands Across the Sands - and "NO" to offshore drilling

On June 26, thousands of people on beaches (and inland) across the nation and world joined hands against off-shore drilling, saying 'Yes!' to alternative energy sources. In Wisconsin, the Raging Grannies took part in the event in Madison, along the shores of Lake Monona, here...  

GTac's proposal: Not your grandparents' mine

"Take a moment to think about Northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills. Picture the vast swath of forested ridges, the shady glens where pristine water flows from headwaters springs," WNPJ member Eric Hansen writes for Milwaukee Public Media.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also carried a version of Hansen's column.

GTac's proposed open-pit iron mine would not be "a mine our grandparents would recognize, a minor incision. This is the new style mining -- a mountaintop removal mine project that would turn a unique part of Northern Wisconsin into a West Virginia-like Land of Sorrow."

Groups take PSC to court over power lines

WNPJ member group Soul of the Kickapoo has been fighting the Badger Coulee high-voltage power line proposal, which intends to run a 345 kV transmission line from Lacrosse to Madison, costing ratepayers $340 million. The line is part of $9 billion in planned power lines being pushed by American Transmission Company, a for-profit utility company, to open up markets in the east for electricity from dirty coal-fired power plants in the Dakotas. The total cost is enough to buy over a million 4kV solar systems for Wisconsin homes to make them mostly energy self-sufficient.

Gold, Copper, and Zinc Prospecting

Canadian mining corporation Aquila Resources Inc. has been working with its partner HudBay Minerals to develop a sulfide mine called the Back Forty Project in Menominee County, MI along the Menominee River, which borders Wisconsin. The project is described by the company as at an advanced stage of exploration and is close to becoming a formal application to mine. (Map from Save the Wild UP)

 

Give thanks for cranberries - stop frac sand mining!

As Wisconsin families plan for Thanksgiving dinners, they don't know the boom in silica sand mining here for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") elsewhere threatens our cranberry bogs, writes dairy farmer and vice-president of Family Farm Defenders Joel Greeno in the Capital Times.

"In addition to the loss of productive farmland, fracking uses huge amounts of water. Cranberry bogs are meticulously designed to take advantage of the water stored in the marshes, which is necessary for harvesting, and growers generally set aside seven acres of land for every acre planted to store this water. Marshes surrounded by sand pits will eventually lose water as it seeps into the pits, leaving berry growers high and dry."

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