Monday, March 11, 2013

As Predicted, Walker Says Mining Bill Protects Environment

I wrote this over the weekend about the spin that Scott Walker would put on massive open pit mining his #1 legislative priority would wreak, through weakened public participation and legal exemptions, on Northern Wisconsin land and water:

Gov. Walker will sign the mining bill Monday afternoon at manufacturing companies in Rhinelander and Milwaukee.

He will tout the bill and open-pit iron ore mining as environmentally-friendly, law-abiding, treaty-respecting and job-creating.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Early reports about the mining bill signing are indeed carrying Walker's misleading quotes:
"I'm thrilled to sign legislation into law protecting environmental safeguards, while providing certainty to the mine permitting process," Walker said in a statement released by his office.
He said lawmakers made "substantial changes" to the legislation designed to protect natural resources.
"The bill I signed into law today will preserve our tradition of clean land, water, and air," Walker said.
And, by the way, that bogus claim about "substantial changes" to the legislation to protect natural resources is a direct bob-and-weave around the Journal Sentinel's Sunday editorial that said the partisan and one-sided defeat of all such amendments to the bill by the GOP was a part of the reason Walker should have vetoed it:
Republicans could have found a more solid middle ground on which to stand. They could have accepted some of the dozens of amendments to the measure that Democrats offered up Thursday. They could have done more to ensure that mining companies won't dodge state standards through exemptions allowed by the law.

On Feb. 24, we wrote that the mining bill, after some compromises had been reached in committee action, was headed in the right direction. It was. But then it stopped moving. No improvements were made in the Joint Finance Committee or on the floors of the Assembly and Senate. We urged Republicans to work with Democrats on further compromise. They did not. The vote in the Assembly was strictly along party lines, and reasonable amendments were rejected by Republicans time and again Thursday.

As it stands, the bill isn't as good as its supporters claim or as bad as its critics fear. But it's not good enough, which is reason enough for Gov. Scott Walker to veto it, although we have little hope of that happening.
More about the editorial, here.

And the real science and law involved and ignored by Walker, here.

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