Scott Walker's industry-written mining bill will fill wetlands, pollute rivers, undermine a large body of Wisconsin environmental law and revive a bad old national story and shame - - the willful disregard of treaties with Native Americans.
Hang your head, Miss Forward: your state is rushing to enable miles of open pit iron ore mines, in a depressed iron ore market - - operations in Minnesota and Michigan are being cut back - - principally to validate conservative ideologies and burnish GOP fund-raising letters and TV ads, and less to promote jobs - - given the losses that will occur in the region in tourism and outdoor recreation.
Knowing that a mine is years - - if ever - - away from approval and opening in the coming bear market in iron ore, where is the Walker administration's comprehensive Plan B for northern Wisconsin?
Or a realistic, doable Plan A?
Given its flaws, this bill should never have been drafted, should never be given serious consideration other than its condemnation, but it's on a fact-free, anti-science fast track and thus will soon present legislators with one of those once-in-a-career "Aye or Nay" moments:
How do you vote and how do you want to be remembered, "Aye or Nay," on replacing the pristine Penokee Hills near Lake Superior at the headwaters of the Bad River with an enormous open pit mine.
"Nay" votes against the bill will be affirmations by genuine public citizen/legislators honoring inherited legacies and histories they have sworn to protect - - from natural resources to open government to fair play and inclusive policy.
Every pro-mining "Aye" vote, however, does the opposite and reveals which lawmakers are willing to put the interests of out-of-state mine owners over official Wisconsin oaths, shared values and histories - - including the letter and spirit of this language in Article Three of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which helped establish relationships with native people already here and paved the way for Wisconsin's inclusion into the United States of America:
"The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them."A lawmaker voting "aye" for the bill is saying, 'to hell with all that.'
And 'I want to clear cut the Penokees, blow a pristine mountain range to smithereens, gouge out miles of open pit scars and release tons of acid runoff into publicly-held rivers, lakes, streams and the Bad River Band's treaty-protected water, wild-rice food supply and culture.'
"Aye or Nay."
How say you?
Every lawmaker voting "aye" on the mining bill earns permanently the description laid upon Martin Sheen by Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now."
re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill."