Monday, December 19, 2011

Mining Bill Has More Holes Than Chicago Bears Secondary

Remember when Scott Walker told the Republican Legislature to hurry up and get him that mining bill?

Walker tells Senate to get going on mining

Oct. 27, 2011
Gov. Scott Walker prodded the Republican-controlled state Senate to take up mining legislation on Thursday in his weekly radio address, saying that Wisconsin “should not have to wait for many months for action.”
Well, legislators are doing just that, and Mom was right - - haste makes waste - - as the first bill out of the chute, after months of behind-closed-doors drafting, has more holes than the Chicago Bears secondary.

Hat tip to Ron Seely for these grafs in a State Journal story about the troubled Assembly mining bill - - and also a nod to the headline writer for focusing the reader's attention on the contradictory bill-writing mess. Could it be that you shouldn't let special interests control the process? I am italicizing a few bon mots:

Official: Streamlining mining permit process may actually hamper timeline

WEST ALLIS — An official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told legislators Wednesday that an Assembly GOP bill to streamline the permitting process for iron mines may lengthen the amount of time it takes for a company to get permission to mine in Wisconsin.

The bill would give the state Department of Natural Resources 360 days to act on an iron mine permit as well as eliminate public hearings and legal challenges, reduce wetland and other water protections, and slash by half the amount of money iron mining companies would be required to pay local communities to help offset their costs...

But Rebecca Grasser, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the 360-day period the bill gives the DNR to act on a permit could preclude the federal agency from working jointly with the DNR. That, she said, could actually lengthen the time a mining company would have to wait for action on a permit request.

At Wednesday's public hearing held at State Fair Park, Ann Coakley, who works on mine permitting for the DNR, said the agency received the 183-page bill on Thursday and has not had enough time to fully review it. But the shortened time frame could cause conflicts with federal agencies that must also act on the permit application, she said.
It's also looking like the bill conflicts with the Great Lakes Compact and its standards and procedures governing large-scale water withdrawals.

The Compact is the an eight-state, two-nation agreement approved also by the Congress and signed by the US President - - one George W. Bush and not some Manchurian Kenyan, fyi.

Even the DNR sees it:
New mining legislation may conflict with the Great Lakes Compact, according to an official with the Department of Natural Resources.

A water resources administrator with the agency said that language on the use of high capacity wells in a mining bill unveiled last week might run up against restrictions on water use in the compact.

“There is a potential conflict,” said Russ Rasmussen, deputy water division administrator said on Wednesday before a hearing on the legislation.
And Federal officials warned Walker and his administration months ago that fast-tracking mining approvals could jeopardize permitting in the state and put Wisconsin out of compliance with existing law and standards in the Clean Water Act.

And the non-partisan, broadly-based Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, which appeared effectively at the hearing against the bill, has been on record - - the bold-facing is the organization's - - since its June 11 meeting opposing legislative efforts to weaken environmental protections or remove public participation in mining reviews:
In order to protect the interests of hunters, anglers and trappers, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at its June 11, 2011 meeting voted to oppose any changes in the Wisconsin’s current mining law that would reduce protection for the environment or reduce public input into the issuance of mining permits.
So why the self-inflicted wound?

A theory.

[Sunday afternoon update: You can still email your comments to the committee chair. Here is the address and some bill highlowights.]


Anonymous said...

The theory about Walker wanting a confrontation with the Obama administration on mining and water makes sense on a couple of levels. Perhaps most significant, we must remember that Scott Walker is driven totally by personal ambition. He wants to be president and will weigh everything he does as governor of Wisconsin in terms of how it furthers that greater goal. This man began running for governor the day he became Milwaukee County executive, and he began running for president the day he became governor. He will do what it takes to make the next step even if he leaves a ruined Wisconsin in his wake.

James Rowen said...

I can see the Walkerits throwing down with the EPA, or the Corps of Engineers, because the right-wing base would ear it up. And provide a scapegoat for the lousy jobs' numbers.

We saw a bit of this strategy in the BadgerCare game Walker played, shirting the blame for the cuts to the rolls on the feds, using a timing trick.

Anonymous said...

re: watching this mining issue progress-
first, I'd like to just say how NAUSEATINGLY obvious the planted pro-mine commenters in the local paper are. You'd have to be a total noob to be taken in by that.
Some people still are fooled I know, but it's too too ridiculous. Especially delightful are the remarks about how the company "restores" the land and LOL the land is made BETTER by the company than it was before. Remarks like that are absoulutely made by management "geniuses" w/o a clue. Only a guy who totally buys into the Bullshit could POSSIBLY argue that Billy Bill and Co. are better than the millenial geologic/biologic processes, better than silly Ma Nature and BETTER THAN THE ALMIGHTY at that there "nature stuff". O Rilly Billy? No hunter would say that, no fisherman would say that, no 4-wheelin' redneck, no trucker living in the woods, just nobody. It's a distant desk jockey feeling clever, no question.

Next - it's always sad to watch things like this get to a stage where these enormous issues all hinge on some minuscule legal point, that will be decided by a by then completely over-whelmed and unprepared county board or other deer-in-headlights governing body of about 10 guys in flannel shirts desperately trying not to look intimidated by the Up-Town Boys. The Up-town boys trying to look natural, to have "respectful" faces that they do not mean and not have "ew! cockroaches!!" type expressions on while they're slumming.

Also sad, it's not exactly un-heard of to have a few folks who will be favorable to your plans surreptitiously voted onto the board well in advance either. Slimey Bastards know how vital stacking the board (any kind of board) in their favor always is. If it's done skillfully the Target doesn't even know they're being groomed for the eventual spotlight.
Anyways, it's the same scenarios played over and over in place after place like a Broadway road show. I can see why the Big Boys get impatient with seeing the same lines repeated over and over by scruffy-looking outraged Local Nobodies, and how they want a hurried-up Cliffs' Notes condensed version of this big human drama. *yawn* all this sturm und drang is SUCH a bore.

And harhar even with Walker's New and Improved Rape Kit it's all STILL too boring. Yup, apparently there's STILL too much silly foreplay for old Bill-with-the-Drill. He gets uncomfortable waiting. It's for your own good and you know you really want it.
Besides, no one can even hear you yelling way out here.

Anonymous said...

good content to this post, but in the title i would change "chicago bears secondary" to "packers offensive line."