Friday, July 27, 2012

Special Interests Politicize Mining Bill

This is as blatant as it gets:

The state's largest business group is urging the Wisconsin Mining Association not to discuss mining legislation with Democrats and environmentalists until after the November election, when Republicans stand a good chance of regaining control of the state Senate and shaping a bill more to their liking.

The letter came under fire on Thursday from some of the parties involved, including Sen. Robert Jauch (D-Poplar), who said that Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce was trying to shut the public out of the process.

The letter sheds a public light on the political strategy of WMC, a powerful business group that has been trying to streamline the state's mining laws after a company with plans for a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin demanded major changes.
And about as hypocritical, too. Remember DNR Secretary Stepp's partisan complaining when the first bill went down to defeat?
Cathy Stepp is stirring the pot all over again on the mining issue, and bringing a divisive image to an agency, state government and issues that hardly needs it.
...what we saw happen was just kind of the Senate Democrats and (GOP) Sen. (Dale) Schultz throw it up in the air as if it was confetti at a labor rally...


Anonymous said...

The liberal agenda has produced nothing of value and continues to be an absolute failure. Our economy is crumbling because of it and peoples lives are being diminished. It is time to DRILL, BLAST and DIG our way back into economic prosperity and there is one political party which is showing the way while another is standing in the way.

Tim Cullen made the right move to abandon this party of elitist snobs who are killing the ability of working people to utilize the abundant wealth of natural resources which surround us, and the only hope we have for future growth is to flip the senate back to the republicans (not including spoiled brat Dale Shultz who voted against the mining bill because he wasn’t reappointed majority leader.

IT IS THE ECONOMY STUPID! And the mining bill will figure prominently in the results of the election this fall.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, if this really was the case, then the mining association would not have to be secretive about their next bill, and instead would publicize its contents far and wide.

They have something to hide. I wonder what it is.


@anon: just take a look at the front page of the JS today. Here we have a pipeline, a relatively reliable and safe means of transporting gasoline that broke open and spewed 54,000 gallons of gasoline in just a few minutes resulting in three private wells being contaminated and more than 66 truckloads of dirt being hauled away from the properties of several properties. Gasoline has seeped through the porous dolomite bedrock. Water from at least 20 private wells is being tested for contamination. Expansion of the search has expanded to a half a mile from the leak. Concentration of benzene found in the wells exceeds the federal standards of 5 parts per billion. The latest test revealed 69.9 parts per billion of benzene - 14 times the standard for safe drinking water. So now we have the Republicons bent on letting the mining companies write the bill and shove it down the throats of environmentalists, the Lac du Flambeau tribe and communities surrounding this proposed mine. The bill was page after page of deregulation "giving a 'boom and bust industry' free rein to rape the environment". The bill would eliminate ANY challenges to the DNR's permitting decisions and would limit who can sue over permit violations. The Assembly voted to weaken laws protecting our health and allow out-of- state mining companies to expose families to deadly chemicals such as arseni, mercury and lead. The bill clealy stated that groundwater contamination by companies is acceptable. Studies show that aggressive excavation of taconite and the processing of taconite pellets can cause toxic heavy metals including arsenic, lead, and mercury to leach into air and water. The amendments did nothing to ensure that drinking water and the pristine North Woods are protected. The bill still allows the state to issue permits to a mining company even if public health and safety are not assured. It gives mining companies a pass on meeting water standards that all other industries must meet and allows mines to physically alter streams wetlands and lakes.
So ANON- if you owned one of these properties that is contaminated with gasoline right now would you honestly want this mine in your backyard?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile Sen. Grothman tells Sheboygan NIMBY group how to keep out (safe, clean, non-polluting) wind farms, and vows to make it HARDER to set up wind farms next year when he hopes the GOP will regain control.

Anonymous said...

The gas leak will be fixed, the wells will recover, and the mine will be precisely in my back yard.

There is no new mining bill which needs to be written. After a couple of wins in the next election, the bill will be brought back to life and passed.

Anonymous said...

"The gas leak will be fixed, the wells will recover, and the mine will be precisely in my back yard.

And those among your neighbors who make their living from the wild rice, or the fishery, or the hunting, they will have to find another line of work.

And it won't be at the mine, because it will be staffed with experienced workers from out of state.

Beauchamp said...

@anon4 - the arrogance of the Republicons reveals itself once again. Enjoy your drinking water while you can and enjoy the years of litigation brought forth by a myriad of organizations . Alas - all could have been avoided with some common sense and compromise but once again greed and arrogance prevails.


FROM THE JS - Town of Jackson - The number of private wells in the town confirmed to be contaminated with gasoline from a pipeline break last week rose to four on Friday as state environmental officials said they were more than doubling the number of wells being tested daily.Tests of a water sample collected Wednesday found unsafe levels of benzene in a well in the 1900 block of Western Ave., said Scott Ferguson, spills coordinator for the state Department of Natural Resources in Milwaukee. The well contains 56 parts per billion of benzene, more than 11 times the federal safe drinking water standard of 5 parts per billion for the chemical.
On Friday, Ferguson announced that the DNR would order pipeline owner, West Shore Pipe Line Co., to test each of 23 private wells along Mockingbird and Hummingbird Drives, south of Western Ave., for contamination. The subdivision is southwest of the pipeline break in the 1800 block of Western Ave.
The company had been testing 20 private wells within a radius of up to half a mile from the location of the break.

No problem- just pump the wells dry until there's no more benzyn left. Right ANON? Who cars about a bunch of wells anyway.

this too, will pass said...

If you don't want pipelines, then stop driving your car.

GROTHMAN said...

“I think there’s a fairly good chance that they can keep this from moving foward,” Grothman said. “They have to provide an avenue for some windmills, but it doesn’t have to be easy. Ultimately, companies don’t like to set up shop where they don’t feel welcome.”

What was that Walker said about brining companies to Wisconsin?

Tintern said...

@this too- so your logic suggests if you don't like electricity from coal fired plants, don't breath?

This too will pass through the porous rock and poison our wells. I guess if I don't like pipelines, don't drink the water?

Sigh - this too will pass on to our next generation.