A great essay, definitely worth the read. A tidbit:
Conservatives frequently look to tradition for policy guidance, and mining proponents are pointing to northern Wisconsin’s historic mining activity as evidence of safe practice. This is not an accurate comparison.
The late 19th- and early 20th-century, operations in the Hurley area relied on underground shaft mines and the region’s landscape remains intact today.
Conversely, the current proposal will virtually flatten the Penokee Hills by excavating a 22-mile-long, 1,000-feet-deep, and up to 1.5-mile-wide pit. Imagine widening I-94 between Lake Michigan and Pewaukee to 600 lanes — that’s roughly the same footprint. This isn’t your grandfather’s mine, and it would be wise to honor Wisconsin’s tradition of responsible stewardship that has provided us a strong balance of development, recreation and preservation.
On a recent visit to the Penokee Hills with a childhood friend who works at the nonprofit Clean Wisconsin, I snowshoed to one of several pre-glacial gorges where world-class trout streams cross the range. I observed the bubbling headwaters of the 76-mile-long Bad River at Caroline Lake, just a few miles from the wetlands where the proposed mine’s tailings — leftover, non-iron minerals — are to be deposited. I drove 25 miles downstream through the Bad River watershed to Lake Superior, passing by homes and farmsteads, state parks and hunting lands.
I was stunned by the Penokee Hills’ important role in influencing the flow and connectivity of the region’s wetlands and waterways all the way down to the Great Lake.
As a conservative, I believe society prospers when we operate with a strong moral order and shared sense of right and wrong. After visiting the region, I know it would be wrong to risk this important watershed and the communities (and economies) that depend on it without first conducting a proper permitting process.