How bad is the Assembly's pro-industry, fast-tracking mining bill? Consider that Assembly leaders are forging ahead with the bill in the face of a rather solid wall of opposition, including:
* Treaty rights held by the Bad River Band.
* Written advice from the US Army Corps of Engineers, pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, the bill will slow down, rather than speed up mining permits.
* Water withdrawal procedures contained in The Great Lakes Compact, an eight-state, two-Canadian province water management agreement ratified by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush.
* Political advice from Wisconsin leader John Torinus, a former Milwaukee Sentinel business editor who sits on the board of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.
* Hundreds of citizen opponents who turned out at public hearings, on short notice, in Milwaukee and Hurley.
* Fiscal advice even from Scott Walker's DNR.
* And for good measure, peruse this screed from the pro-mining Journal Sentinel editorial board, which used phrases to describe the Assembly bill that included:
"...a travesty of legislation...significantly weaken environmental protections...as if children had replaced Republican legislators...dump toxic waste into wetlands and flood plains...allow mining corporations to contaminate the groundwater of neighboring properties...allow mining operations to inflict significant damage to the environment...an act of political cowardice...an insult to the people of northern Wisconsin...More details about the bill, here.
But don't get lulled into thinking that the Senate version will be substantially better, as its author put no citizens on his bill-drafting committee, says his goal is to write a bill that attracts mines, and is calling a separate bill to drastically deregulate wetlands protections as the Builders Association wants done as mere "freshening up."