* "Government and industry control of water levels has in nearly every instance proven disastrous to wild rice crops." Wild Rice and the Objiway People, p. 290. Thomas Vennum, Jr., Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1988. - -
* "The Ironwood Iron Formation in the Gogebic Range is steeply tilted (ca. 60° to NNW) and has limited natural exposure at the surface. A stably benched 200-300 m deep open pit mine in the Ironwood would therefore have a very large surface area and would require the removal of an immense volume (on the order of 330 million m3) of waste rock...
"...[that] contains significant amounts of reduced iron as sulfide (pyrite, pyrrhotite and related minerals), which could react with oxygen to generate acid mine drainage." Lawrence University report, summary, 2012.
* "The proposed mining bill does away with any limits on polluting ground water deeper than 1000 feet, even if water supply aquifers would be at risk if such pollution occurred underneath the mine.
"Monitoring of that deep groundwater also would not be required...
"Under the bill, individual citizens couldn’t enforce permit limitations...
"...“citizen suit” provisions have been included in many state and federal environmental laws to protect citizens from the potential failure of state regulators to take enforcement action... The proposed mining bill eliminates “citizen suits” to enforce iron mining permits."
Attorney Dennis Grzezinski, 2013. - -
So now, with the Ashland listening session closed out late Saturday though the mining bill had already sailed through two committees last week through GOP state-managed proceedings, how do we sum up their intention to force an industry-written iron mining bill on the state and the mining site neighbors?* "The Bad River people, this is our homeland, this is all we have." Bad River Band Chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr, 2013. - -
Put it this way: Those who already hold a disproportionate share of power are implementing a grasping talking point you could put on a bumper sticker - - an ethos without ethics that has driven corporate elites and their pocketed lawmakers before there were talking points or car bumpers:
What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine, too.
Private companies, GOP legislators, trade associations, mining executives and their lobbyists have united in the halls of the State Capitol under the banner of a more current talking point - - business certainty - - to breathe life into discredited, forgettable 19th century robber baron behavior and press for a massive open pit iron ore mine near Ashland without deigning to hold a public hearing on the bill or the agenda behind it any closer to the effected area than Madison, hundreds of miles away.
These power brokers are intentionally ignoring treaties generations old that define a strip of land on the south shore of Lake Superior close to the Penokee Hills as reserved by the Bad River Band in exchange for virtually all of what is now Northern Wisconsin.
The reservation/reserved property - - with its own certainties - - is land which private companies, legislators, trade associations, mining executives and their lobbyists cannot access, manage, dominate, fill, pave, 'develop,' hunt, fish, deforest, dam, or dewater.
But this corporate juggernaut wants to skirt, undermine, and flat-out wreck existing law, practice and tradition by reworking and weakening - - through compliant GOP legislative marionettes - - the state's environmental laws.
They want to blast, mill and even dump, with acidic runoff-bearing content, an entire range of hills at or into waters that connect with the Bad River and Lake Superior watersheds.
With waters that course through wild rice beds central to the survival of people whose rights to land and water and way of life predate statehood, and whose culture has protected status in treaties with the US government - - signed sovereign nation-to-sovereign nation.
The juggernaut wants to 'win' by devaluing what is not theirs.
Every constituent, every Wisconsin citizen should let the Governor and the legislators serving him know that the mining bill is bad legislation.
That it undermines the State Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine.
That it desecrates The Wisconsin Idea.
That we, the people do not want our representatives in 2013 to turn us into retrograde treaty breakers and polluters whose greed and arrogance led to mistreatment of native people and the environment wrested from them.
That we say, to the contrary and with certainty:
What's theirs is not ours.
And water rights the Public Trust Doctrine has said since 1787 belong to all of us are not for sale.