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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
More than 600 people, including many members of the Bad River and Red Cliff tribes, turned out for the first public hearing in northern Wisconsin on a mining bill that would fast-track mining projects by limiting public input and environmental oversight. The decision to schedule the hearing by the Assembly Committee on Jobs, the Economy, and Small Business represented a victory for mining opponents who had criticized the committee's initial plan to only hold one public hearing near Milwaukee, about 300 miles away from the proposed mine. At the hearing, tribal leaders and members spoke strongly against the mine. "Environmentally, this bill is a disaster," said Tom Maulson, president of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Indians, said about the bill, "It is page after page of deregulation, giving a `boom and bust industry' free rein to rape the environment that we all depend on." Read more...
In a victory after much public pressure, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, the Economy, and Small Business announced it will hold an official hearing up north on AB 426, the proposed mining bill written for Gogebic Taconite that would weaken environmental protections, eliminate contested case hearings, reduce local input, and establish unreasonable timelines for iron mining permits.
The hearing's on January 11, 10 AM at the Hurley Inn. The Committee, which introduced the bill, held the first hearing on it December 14 in Milwaukee. For more information on the bill, see the League of Conservation Voters website or read the Legislative Council bill summary.
A public hearing previously scheduled in Ashland by state Rep. Janet Bewley and Sen. Bob Jauch has been cancelled.
An editorial in this week's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel argues against mining legislation recently introduced in the Wisconsin State Assembly, saying "the proposed legislation simply goes too far in weakening protections and in lessening the opportunities for citizen input." The Journal-Sentinel's editorial board took the unusual step of printing a second editorial against the mining bill to rebut charges by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce that their original editorial, printed on Sunday, was "hyperbole." The Journal-Sentinel editorial board responds: "We think WMC is engaging in its own form of hyperbole." Read and comment here...
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...
Concerned about the push to expand mining in Wisconsin? The state legislature is holding two hearings on Wednesday, Decemer 14.
In Milwaukee, there's a hearing on the Assembly mining bill (LRB 3520/1) that was just unveiled last week. Assembly leaders say this will be the only public hearing on the bill. The hearing is at the State Fair Park, Tommy Thompson Youth Center (gate 5), 84th Street in West Allis, starting at 10 am. To learn more about the bill, see the analyses from the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Clean Wisconsin (PDF), Sierra Club (PDF) and River Alliance of Wisconsin (PDF).
In Madison, there's a hearing on the "polluters over people" bill (Senate Bill 326 / Assembly Bill 421, formerly Special Session Bill 24), which would greatly relax waterway protections and threaten water quality and quantity. This hearing of the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment is in the state Capitol, room 300 Southeast, starting at 10 am.
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)