Sunday, May 8, 2011

Call To Action To Prevent Great Lakes Water, Mining Debacle In NW Wisconsin

The Walker administration - - already having killed both wind energy and high-speed rail initiatives in Wisconsin- - will further erode the environment, and the historic role of the Department of Natural Resources as its protector by turning permit reviews for mines - - like the proposed Gogebic iron ore operation near Ashland, in Northwest Wisconsin - - into a symbolic and superficial shuffling of papers.

The emerging plan is to put a 300-day cap on mining permit procedures, though it correctly takes years to make sure that when begun, mining operations do not foul rivers, lakes and streams - - public resources whose ownership in trust for the people pre-dates statehood and are embedded in the Wisconsin Constitution.

It also looks like this scheme to fast-track mining permits and limit public participation - - all to tip the process towards the applicant - - will be rushed through the Republican-controlled Legislature before the July adjournment, and the July 12 recall elections, which might cost the Republicans their Senate majority.

The Gogebic iron mine, without iron-clad protections created through careful scientific, transparent planning, could harm water quality close to Lake Superior.

So this is serious business. Great caution has to be exercised before the Walker gang is allowed to set in motion a process that could ruin an international body of water - - a major part of the largest supply of fresh water on the planet, the Great Lakes.

It's one thing for Walker to nail up some "Wisconsin is open for business" signs at the border; it's another to set in motion a deliberately-truncated, one-sided mining permitting 'review' that could end up contaminating irreplaceable, publicly-managed waters.

And Walker has to be challenged if he chooses to abuse the debate by framing this as another cynical "jobs versus the environment" choice. We can have both.

The same level of public awareness and organizational commitment that continues to fight for the restoration of the Great Lakes, and that guaranteed a public process to review, approve and implement the Great Lakes Compact as it unfolds (see, Waukesha)- - both in Wisconsin and across the entire two-country, eight state Great Lakes region - - must now get focused on this blatant disregard for water and the land in Northwest Wisconsin.

A Facebook group is already up and running.

And where is that iron ore headed?


Anonymous said...

Someone should contact the Great Lakes InterTribal Council. The Bad River band has fisheries in the affected area to the south (if I understand the location correctly) and there's rice and all kinds of stuff going on. It's not like the government never takes dump on a treaty but there's some shreds of "rights" left.
Do they know? How will their lands be effected? Do the plans conflict with any kind of treaty right? Harm a Native Business? etc etc

Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council
2932 Highway 47 N - Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538
or P.O. Box 9 - Lac du Flambeau, WI 54538
Phone: 715-588-3324 - Fax: 715-588-7900
Toll Free: 1-800-472-7207

Maybe they got people watching for issues, or maybe they're up to their eyeballs in other stuff, who knows.
Or at least post who is "calling to action", who is providing info and coordination. etc
But unless the tribes wanna be left alone on this issue (like if they already got promised jobs or some crap), IMO ignoring them would be nuts

James Rowen said...

Note this Facebook group about which I just learned:

rich said...


They already know.

garyglonek said...

This is a must needed project for our area. The wealth created by extracting this valuable resource will benefit everyone. The area to be mined has been owned by mining companies for over 120 years for this expressed purpose and has had many previous smaller scale mining attempts. The mine is actually over 15 miles from Lake Superior and the Flambeau Mine in Ladysmith which was right on the banks of the Flambeau River demonstrates how mining can be successfully done even near waterways.

The people of this area have lived with a mining economy in the past and lived without one and most people here overwhelmingly support the mine.

Anonymous said...

What does "conservative" and "conservation" have in common?

Willy said...

I wonder if Koch Industries stands to benefit from the mining changes?

Anonymous said...

It might take more than an email to the Indians. We might need to help strengthen their legal budgets. Or recall this lemon of a governor.

Anonymous said...

"This is a must needed project for our area. The wealth created by extracting this valuable resource will benefit everyone."

Then the mine operators can make this case and put it through full environmental review without having to gut the process down to a rubber stamp.

Anonymous said...

Where are these consersvationists/progressives when Milwaukee dumps its raw sewage ever time it rains? I was taught that Lake Michigan was part of the Great Lakes. Seems we are giving the Dems a pass for actually poluting while we condemn the GOP for thinking of doing something.