Good statement from Midwest Environmental Advocates, a public interest law firm, commenting on a process that has shut out the public interest:
Midwest Environmental Advocates on Passage of SB1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2013
CONTACT: Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director, (608)251-5047
MADISON, WI – Today the State Senate narrowly approved a bill deregulating iron mining in Wisconsin. The following can be attributed to Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates:
“The vote in the Senate today marks two years of state lawmakers ignoring the majority of their constituents who are opposed to environmental roll backs, in order to push through a bad bill written largely by an out-of-state company to exempt themselves from our state’s environmental protections. It has been deeply disappointing to see how the power of special interest money so blatantly trumped the voices of Wisconsin citizens. The majority has thumbed their noses at science and the democratic process in voting for this legislation. Worse, they didn’t even bother to engage the sovereign nation whose health and way of life are put at risk by the largest proposed iron mine in our state’s history.
“The area where the mining company wants to create a massive, open pit mine by blowing up the Penokee Hills and filling lakes and streams with the waste, is one of the most extensive and pristine landscapes remaining in the world. The vast wetlands on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians’ reservation function as kidneys for Lake Superior: the billions of gallons of water that flow through the Bad River homeland refresh the largest freshwater lake in the world. Over 40 % of all the wetlands in the Lake Superior basin are on Bad River Tribal lands and it is truly due to the Tribal leadership and continuing conservation efforts that the Bad River watershed has been recognized as an internationally important wetland ecosystem.
“Despite the threats to their land, Bad River Tribal chair, Mike Wiggins, Jr. told a supportive crowd in the state capitol today, ‘although this has been a long and difficult two years, it is the equivalent of the blink of an eye for our people. We aren’t going anywhere and we have a long history of defending our way of life.’
“As this legislative proposal moves forward to certain passage in the State Assembly, there is still not a clear path to an open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills. Our state’s proud history of non-partisan protection of our natural heritage is still cherished by the people of Wisconsin. This fight has just begun and the numbers of people standing together to protect the rights of future generations grows every single day.”
Midwest Environmental Advocates is a public interest organization that uses the power of the law to support communities fighting for environmental accountability. Learn more about the Midwest Environmental Advocates on the web at midwestadvocates.org, like MEA on Facebook or follow @MidwestAdvocate on Twitter.