Friday, February 3, 2012

Federal Authorites Ask If Mining Bill Violates Tribal Rights

The Ashland Current newspaper reports that the US Bureau of Indian affairs is looking into whether the Assembly mining bill's creation by the Wisconsin Legislature on a GOP-led party line vote violated treaty rights.

There's been plenty of criticism along these lines, since legislators have acknowledged they wrote the bill among themselves, and with input from the mining company, but without the participation of the Ojibwe people living near the proposed mine and its impact on tribal waters near the Bad River.

And I hope that exhibit "A" in the federal investigation are the overtly exclusionary comments by State Rep. Jeff Stone, (R-Greenfield), who went out of his way to say publicly that he didn't think it was necessary to provide Native Americans with a seat at the table.

So it's OK to invite in the company that would benefit from the mine and the bill's weakening of existing environmental and public participatory standards - - but not invite people living in the watershed where toxic tailings, dust and other pollutants could easily end up in rice-growing, life-sustaining waters?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder to what extent the BIA is still stuffed full of Bush flunkies. The BIA has a long history of screwing Indians out of their mineral rights. But I suppose this is just the first step in a long legal battle.