Supporters of the mining bill have a political and legal death wish, as they continue to ignore:
* Existing treaties with Ojibwe tribes:
Armed with its status as a sovereign nation and powerful treaties with the federal government, the Bad River Chippewa tribe has the legal muscle to do what Democratic opponents of an iron mine proposed for northern Wisconsin have so far been unable to do: halt or delay the project.* Advice from the US Army Corps of Engineers, now many months old:
Those powers, say experts on Native American law, appear to have been both underestimated and misunderstood by proponents of the mine, including Republican legislators who have been criticized for failing to consult with tribal members as they work on a bill to streamline permitting for the mine.
"All of us are going to get an education in federal Indian law," said Larry Nesper, a UW-Madison scholar in Great Lakes Indian law and politics.
Nesper said Bad River and other Chippewa tribes have the power to challenge the proposed mine in federal court by invoking the federal treaties that protect their access to clean water and clean air.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
first posted, 9:45 Wednesday, Jan. 11): Attention, Assembly Republicans:
As you rush your flawed mining bill to a vote next week, have any of you read the document sent in August by the US Army Corps of Engineers to Gov. Walker - - and to others, including Natural Resources Committee and Hurley hearing chair Rep. Mary Williams, (R-Medford) - - that explains in great detail how the Assembly Republicans' legislative approach to shorten mining permit reviews would actually lengthen the process because the state and Corps' reviews would be on different and incompatible time lines?
Here is a link to the letter in pdf, courtesy of the Ashland Current - - GovWalkerOffice 07-2011.pdf
"Multiplying expense and time," is the path that the Corps urged the Assembly to avoid.
Why not take the advice, unless obeisance to contributors, a Tea Party-pleasing confrontation with Obama's Feds and displaying world-class arrogance is what these legislators really want to accomplish?
Raise your hand if you think a Federal court is going to throw out the Corps' responsibilities required under the decades-old, bi-partisan reality known as the Federal Clean Water Act in favor of something cobbled together by a group of unnamed Wisconsin legislators and a mining company?
Early warning about this.