Sunday, January 27, 2013

Journal Sentinel Editorial Leans Away From GOP Mining Bill, But...

After much back and forth on the merits and gaps in an iron mining bill being rushed to adoption by the GOP-controlled state legislature, the Journal Sentinel editorial board finds too many flaws in the bill (written by mining insiders) to support it - - and, in its own words, "leans toward" (now there's a modifier) an alternative proposal by Democratic Senator Tim Cullen, (D-Janesville) unless the GOP bill is repaired.

And calls the mine "necessary."

The editorial is weak tea, and, additionally, two problems in the paper's argument stand out:

*  There is not a word in the editorial about the bill's specific impact on, or the position taken against it by the Bad River Band of Ojibwe, whose waters and wild-rice culture are close downstream from the proposed mine site.

This is a significant piece of the issue, as the Ojibwe have treaty-conferred sovereign status and rights that should be right up there in the discussion.

* The editorial mentions the length of the mine - - but more description is needed. This is to be an open pit project four miles long, and 700-to-1,000 feet deep and a half-mile wide that would replace a range of pristine hills at the headwaters of the Bad River close to Lake Superior.

Gov. Walker keeps linking the proposed mine to the state's mining heritage as stitched into the state flag - - back to a 19th-century era of smaller, hand-hewn mines that predate today's modern, mountain-top removing through blasting, drag-line excavating and over-sized truck hauling.

The location and scope (the ore runs for 22 miles) and context of the project, if more fully and fairly discussed, should do more than suggest leaning towards a different bill.

Or calling it "necessary."

It screams for outright denunciation.

The paper is right that the bill has too many flaws - - and the editorial does a good job of laying out how the bill creates special and unacceptable exemptions from environmental law and protections - - but what the paper wants is a mine sited where the Penokee Hills stand just upstream from the Bad River Band's lands and waters.

When all is said and done, the editorial still backs a large-scale hammering of a square peg into a round hole.

The iron ore in question and the mine site proposed are fatally incompatible with their location.


Anonymous said...

That paper is a bunch of pigs -- they are still propping up the mining charade, just hiding behind the lie of being "balanced" and misrepresenting themselves as being the grown-up in the room.

They are propaganda shills and this works at many levels -- if your larger point is that MJS is saying "no" with a "wink wink, say no more" nod and "yes"; you are correct.

They won't print anything factual about the bill -- just the false dichotomies of:

*jobs or environment

*bill doesn't change environmental standards or DOES change environmental standards

*republican lies are just as merit-worthy and newsworthy as attempts to ascertain the truth.

Great example of how the lie of ojbective journalism works.

Gareth said...

Tourism is also a state heritage, but it's incompatible with mountain top removal mining which will pollute the water that the tourists come to enjoy.

Tourism is a renewable economic resource, the profits of which stay in the local community. The mine will play out at some point, leaving a large poisonous abcess, draining into the streams and lakes of the region. The costs of monitoring and cleaning up this toxic mess will, as always, fall on the taxpayers. Meanwhile the mining profits will have already been shifted out of state and probably offshore.

A. Wag said...

Gutless JS bastards!

Max B said...

One factor not often mentioned is the dilution of property values in the north. Property owners of second and vacation homes prop up the local economy in expenditures such as groceries, restaurants, recreation, gasoline, boats, etc. These folks often spend multiple weeks/weekends at their properties vs. visitors' one or two weeks. Their property taxes pay for a lot of local infrastructure and education. When open-pit mining brings air, water, noise and light pollution, not to mention huge trucks and heavy equipment clogging up and ruining the roads, the pristine north is not going to seem so wonderful. A big part of the "up-north" appeal is the sense of getting away from it all--no longer possible when Big Mining comes to town.