The influential Wisconsin Wildlife Federation makes a strong statement against changing state permitting rules to help the proposed iron mines in northern Wisconsin get underway.
Past history has shown that Wisconsin’s current mining law meets the critical balance between economic development and environmental protections.The group's full statement posted yesterday is below:
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s Statement on Wisconsin Mining Law Changes
Wisconsin hunters, anglers and trappers understand that clean lakes, streams and wetlands are vital to our recreational pursuits of hunting, fishing and trapping. Our recreational pursuits are fundamentally based on the quality of the fish and wildlife habitat contained in Wisconsin’s water resources.
Past experience in Wisconsin and other states has shown that improperly regulated ferrous and nonferrous mining can have very damaging impacts on fish and wildlife habitat. In the mid-1980s mining companies, local units of governments, environmental organizations and conservation groups including the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation worked together to develop a Wisconsin mining law that allows for the permitting of profitable and environmentally protective mines.
Under that law one mine, the Flambeau mine in Rusk County was successfully permitted and the permit application for a second mine, the Crandon mine in Forest County, was withdrawn. Past history has shown that Wisconsin’s current mining law meets the critical balance between economic development and environmental protections.
Currently there are mines under discussion in the Penokee Range area of Ashland and Iron counties and in the Willow Flowage area of Oneida County. Both of those areas are very environmentally sensitive and improperly regulated mining will seriously damage lakes, streams and wetlands and the fish and wildlife habitat important to hunters, anglers and trappers.
In order to protect the interests of hunters, anglers and trappers, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at its June 11, 2011 meeting voted to oppose any changes in the Wisconsin’s current mining law that would reduce protection for the environment or reduce public input into the issuance of mining permits.
Chuck Matyska Betty Borchert
Cecil, Wisconsin Oshkosh
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation WWF Environmental Committee
George Meyer, Executive Director, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation