Discussions and strategies about removing Gov. Scott Walker and Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald through recall elections should be broadened to target and block these officials' misguided special-interest-driven bill to de-regulate mining in the state, as new polling data released by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, (WLCV), show more people in the state, regardless of political party, prefer wetlands protections and citizen involvement in mining permit review procedures than support the Walker and Fitzgerald de-regulation bill.
The leaders' support for bad, anti-science legislation is more than a political or policy disagreement with the opposing party that can be hashed out in the next regular election cycle: it poses an emergency threat to clean water, public health, environmental protection and treaty rights held by the Bad River band of Ojibwe who live close to land and waterways affected by the proposed iron ore mine near Ashland that the Walker/Fitzgerald bill would fast-track.
And set a terrible precedent for citizen participation in basic conservation policy-making, wetlands protection statewide and water-dependent tourism and recreational businesses from Superior to Kenosha.
The Journal Sentinel notes that this is the second poll showing little enthusiasm for weakening state environmental laws that now guide mining permit reviews - - with the earlier poll commissioned by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a conservative political organization finding:
From the firm that that conducted the WLCV poll:A minority of Wisconsinites (38 percent) favor streamlining environmental regulations in order to create more mining jobs in Northern Wisconsin while slightly more than half (51 percent) say environmental regulations should not be weakened. Eleven percent don’t know or declined to answer.
From: Tom Jensen, Director of Public Policy Polling
To: Interested Parties Subject: Wisconsin voters oppose effects of open-pit mining bill
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that Wisconsin voters are strongly opposed to the effects a new open-pit mining bill would have on the state’s environment.
Concern about the bill carries across party lines - this is something Wisconsin voters from all political backgrounds find deeply troubling. Key finding from the poll include:
-69% of voters oppose weakening Wisconsin’s wetlands law, while only 22% think doing so is necessary to attract open-pit mining companies and jobs to the state. Majorities of Democrats (81/14), independents (70/21), and Republicans alike (53/35) stand against any legislation that would hurt the state’s wetlands. The negative environmental fallout far outweighs any other factors for voters when it comes to this bill.
-Only 22% of voters support a provision that would reduce public participation in the mining application process, while 72% are opposed to it. This is another proposal where we find strong agreement across the party spectrum
- Democrats (87/10), independents (74/21), and Republicans (52/37) all think there should be no weakening in the right of citizens to speak out against mining permits.
-Just 34% of voters support any streamlining of environmental regulations to help bring mining jobs to northern Wisconsin, while 49% oppose any weakening of water protections. Always critical independent voters are even more against proposed streamlining of environmental regulations than the population as a whole, opposing it 51/33.
Wisconsin voters are sending a clear message: legislators should vote against this bill. They think its negative environmental impacts far outweigh any jobs it may create.
And they strongly oppose any changes to the process that would quiet citizens’ voices.
PPP surveyed 866 Wisconsin voters on behalf of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters on February 17th and 18th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.3%.