Saturday, March 9, 2013

What Scott Walker Will Not Say At Mining Bill Signings

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.

The mining bill establishes a privileged class of iron mining corporations (allowed to write and edit legislation behind closed doors) with special rights in Wisconsin (more about special classes and rights at the end of this posting).

The bill lets GTAC  - - a West Virginia mountain-top removal business with no experience in iron mining:

* Dynamite the Penokee Hills, tear apart the Bad River region and fill portions of its watershed with a gigantic open-pit mine.

* Set the stage for the release of sulphuric acid mining drainage upstream from culturally-significant wild-rice estuaries while exempting the company from having to protect public water rights.

* Evade long-standing Constitutional guarantees, reasonable regulation or meaningful public participation in the state permitting review.

* Pay no mining taxes.

And while other firms must pay a fee of $7 per ton for waste generated, GTAC will be required to cough up less than three cents per ton towards remediation funding or other public programs though the open-pit mine 1,000 feet deep, a half-mile wide and up to 22 miles long is projected to generate tens of millions of cubic yards of waste rock annually.

For 35 years.

To solemnly say that iron mines will be required by the bill to follow the law when the bill intentionally guts or displaces the law is a sick, Soviet-style rhetorical dodge.

As to much-needed jobs in Wisconsin and the economically-depressed Northwestern part of the state - - in an economy Walker artificially depressed through Act 10 austerity - - other than a few company surveyor and geologist hours at the site committed until injuctions hit, no actual mining jobs are created by the bill now, or for a long time to come.

And given the multiplicity of complex litigation headed our way because the bill is so badly flawed there will be no miners or truck drivers or machinists or manufacturers hired for many years, if ever.

In fact, GOP bill managers turned aside a Democratic amendment to require GTAC to hire Wisconsin workers, leaving the firm free to bring in its own, out-of-state work force.

All of which Walker knows as his remarks are being drafted and vetted by public and private spinmeisters alike.

So let's tell the truth:

The bill makes no immediate or predictable dent in state or regional unemployment.

If Walker really had cared about these issues beyond making empty boasts about creating 250,000 new private sector jobs, and blathering on in talkingpointspeak about "certainty" and "flexibility" he would have come into office two years ago with a blueprint for northern Wisconsin employment beyond the mining bill.

He would have laid out a process and goals with everyone at the table - - including the Native tribes his party has excluded from the mining bill's drafting.

And, by the way: what is the negative effect on recreation and tourism jobs created by preliminary logging, road-building and then finally the blasting, air pollution and run-off from a massive open-pit mine carved into the Bad River headwaters and throughout Lake Superior watersheds?

Which brings us to the treaties signed by the United States Government with the Chippewa (Ojibwe) in the 19th century:

The bill simply pretends the treaties are not there. Call it legislating with Windex, regardless if Walker invokes them with a few throw-away lines that have no honesty behind them.

The bill, from drafting to adoption to signing, is a deliberate stick in the eye, a stab in the heart, by the worst elements in the majority culture which already obtained and run the current State of Wisconsin with its vast timber, water and real estate wealth - - just as they run the country and much of North America from sea to shining sea - - by a mixture of violence, coercion, and trickery and a handful of treaties often disrespected or broken.

A majority culture with all the power, but which now wants every last molecule of land, breath of clean air, moment of quietude and grain of rice, regardless of treaty promises made, from the Bad River Band living on a remaining narrow strip of its lands on the south shore of Lake Superior.

On behalf of an out-of-state coal mining company, Walker wants to control and devalue that, too.

In other words, the private-sector obeisant Walkerites running the government want everything, and will do anything, say anything, contort anything, to devalue and effectively take that, too.

Shame on me for further distributing the anonymous toxin that flows as comments into this blog, but someone on this posting Friday summed up the ignorance and bad intentions to which Walker and his exclusionist legislative allies have been playing:

The battle that is brewing is that over treaty rights issues and the Walker administration is eager and willing to tear into this with the same energy and expertise. By the time this is over there will no longer be a privileged class of people with special rights above those of the rest of us.
The writer of that comment overlooks and turns upside down which people in Wisconsin were made special by having full legal rights through business as usual, and who did not:

*  Native Americans had their land stolen repeatedly, were shoved on to reservations, were not granted US citizenship until 1924 or the guaranteed right to vote in all states until 1957.

*  African-Americans were declared by the US Constitution having representational rights equal to three-fifths of whites.

*  Women in the United States were not granted the right to vote until 1920.

So spare me the empty rhetoric about rights, the law, and the environment - - whether from the Governor or the Internet trolls who carry his water.


Anonymous said...

Don’t believe in treaty rights? The Lac Du Flambeau tribe has just announced a muskie spearing tournament for March 16 and are going to increase the amount of walleyes speared so that the daily bag limit for you white racists out there will be reduced to 2 fish. HA HA HA, he who laughs last…

Anonymous said...

You are not the source of the truth -- you are just another attention-grabbing political hack that props up the lie of journalism.

You daily give a free-pass to the industry that created walker and the shenanigans your grandstand over.

This means you are part of the noise chamber too.

enoughalready said...

Yes, let's tell the truth. This mining bill is not even primarily about jobs. Scott Walker's main purpose is evidently to stick it to the environmentalists. That, in my opinion, is the plain and very ugly truth.

Anonymous said...

Pay back for signing the recall petition.
Scott Walker has devoted the next two years to punishing anyone who does not agree with him.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine lots of reasons this bill might have been passed. It might be to prop up his image for the 2014 governors race and 2016 presidential race. It kinda makes it look like he is trying to create some jobs.

It also serves to divide citizens in multiple ways. Native vs non Native. Union manufacturing over environmentalists. Lots of lawsuits by different people working against themselves and each other.

As an added bonus it will make DNR employees look bad no matter what. If the mine is permitted, DNR isn't doing it's job. If it isn't permitted, employees are obstructionist. Time to split the DNR into 2 agencies and maybe purge a few people and get rid of a few pesky regulations along the way.

It also gets him tons of free publicity and campaign cash from people who actually think there will be a mine. And he can travel the state promoting his jobs record - thousands of mining jobs will be created because of this bill. He worked with the mining company.

It's even possible he thinks having this mine is a good thing. More likely though it is a smoke screen for something else, maybe frack sand mining which is causing extreme environmental damage but which is valuable to the Koch brothers for gas production in North Dakota. Time will tell.

JulieG said...

it would appear that Scooter and his gang will not rest until every last resource and parcel of this state are divvied out to the highest (as in campaign contributors)bidders, and this state has nothing left but an empty shell of ignorant, uneducated, penniless shills who kept re-electing them

AnonyBob said...

AnonyTrolls 1:03 & 1:24,
You guys are hilarious! Keep the laughs coming for the rest of us that follow this blog.
As ever, kudos to James.

Anonymous said...

This representative sums up the bill quite nicely.

Don't forget Scott Walker got 11 Million dollars in campaign funds from this corporation.

Anonymous said...

This bill is a low cost shot in the dark by the mining company. The only way they can make money mining this deposit is if they are allowed to do a lot of damage. The bill allows them to do that. It may not survive the permitting process, and if it does it may not survive the court challenges, but according to the bill, if the project slips over the hurtles, the mine company makes piles of money, pays little taxes, sticks the taxpayers with the bill for the permitting and the mess they leave behind. Huge return for their investments in our politicians. Your free market at work.

Anonymous said...

I'm always in awe of the kinds of comments that get "troll" tossed at them. Sometimes, a person who just does not spew forth with the predictable talking points gets classed as a "troll", or even just a person with beliefs contrary the blog owner or their posse of readers.
For example, after searching on the LdF reduced bag limit remark made by 1:03 I found scant yet confirming info that it IS true, there is a controversial and apparently suddenly planned Mar 16 spearing that is immediately causing rumblings (often racist rumblings) on a Fishing Forum and elsewhere...So I just really don't see where the appellation "troll" fits here - because s/he said "HaHaHa" ? I don't get it.
I also saw reference to the possibility of Maulson et al reducing "white guy" bag limits to 0 (yeah, zero) at some point in the near future which would be a guaranteed explosive situation. And that's not hyperbole. Additionally, people with memories might recall that 1 year ago things were quite tense and unflattering between Tom Maulson and Cathy Stepp during bag limit talks. Things are getting worse? So we can assume. Aside from the Walker/Mine issue, Stepp herself has taken a very high-handed "sahib" attitude towards native nations. Tensions overall are ratcheting up.
Now, it's clear that Scott Walker is no northwoodsman, not by any stretch, and even his Harley ride appears quite painfully incongruous with his pasty city boy reality, however I personally believe he does feel significant affinity for the old "glory days" of STA, Dean Crist and his lot (actual Northwoodsmen of the passionately racist and angry variety). He and the Kochs certainly indicate affinity with those that perceive Native and African American populations as "favored classes" with "special rights , people who need to be made "more equal". Reminiscent of the heinous, remorseless character of Paris Trout.
AnonyBob and others, I recommend this slideshow linked below of over 100 images from the northern WI racial/spearing hostilities of recent past. I have real and deep concern that Walker, Tiffany and everyone who takes marching orders from the Kochs and other Birchers are working diligently to bring back those days, but on steroids.
This is not what we in the North need, yet I am afraid this is quite probably what we are going to get. People may not like Anon 1:03's tone of voice, but s/he gave real information on a very serious, doom-laden bit of info. Tom Maulson made a statement confirming the Mar 16 spearing, and Tom as we know is not pleased with Stepp, nor should he be.
Lines are being drawn, and I find nothing to laugh about in this.
Here is a link to the slideshow, images become uglier as you get farther along. I suggest looking at them all.
p.s. I have taken inspiration from a phrase in this post and gotten an account which will distinguish me from the AnonySea of commenters here. So at least you'll be able to keep straight who you're annoyed at. Hopefully it will be me much of the time, or I'm just not doing it right. Troll Power, baby!

Anonymous said...

When Scott Walker and company takes on the treaty rights issue we will see who laughs last.

Anonymous said...

In war there is collateral damage. In order to save the water it may be necessary to reduce the harvestable fish and game population which is made available to non-natives. This is their right according to current legal interpretations of the treaties and they are using the tools which they have to work for what they see as their interests. Let the slaughter begin.

Anonymous said...

My God you Madison liberals are clueless. The civil rights marches were to ensure that all races had equal rights. The tribes insist that they have superior rights. Any good advocate of equal rights would not be defending a privileged class.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

The tribes insist that they have superior rights.

The tribes have CONTRACTUAL, LEGAL rights. The civil rights movement has nothing to do with the issues raised in opposition to the mine or even the sidetrack of fishing rights.

You don't like it, head back to the negotiating table. Summarily negating a contract at the legislative level is illegal.

Anonymous said...

The “treaty rights” should be more correctly called the “Judge Crabb created rights” as there is absolutely nothing in the treaties that establishes a special class of citizen with more rights than another. There is even a line of thought out there that Scott Walker wants the Indians to violate the treaty agreement and pull stupid stunts so he can eliminate these rights just like he did to the state workers. Let these Indians go nuts, it will just get their rights removed that much quicker, but we still must protest their actions or otherwise they will just stay home and behave themselves.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

You sure you want to start using the language of 'privileged class" when we're talking about changing the laws to benefit a massive out of state corporation, or the direct control of Wisconsin's legislature by out of state billionaires?

Perhaps we should start by talking about what a privileged class actually is and is not.

Anonymous said...

"The tribes insist that they have superior rights."

The tribes insist on their rights under the Constutition, which you really should get around to read.

Under our Constitution, you don't get to modify treaties through legislation. You have to renegotiate, which means asking the Indians to sign on the line that is dotted. (Don't bother. They won't. They aren't stupid.)

The existing treaties specifically mention the Indians' right to their fishing and wildrice. And that means if you try to poison their water upstream from them, they will sue and you will lose.

Don't like it? Tought. George Washington himself got the Constitution to stipulate that treaties with Indians are not to be violated through legislation. If you don't respect the father of our country, then leave.

James Rowen said...

The way I see it, special rights are conferred by the bill on GTAC and iron mining, at the expense of public water and the Bad River Band way of life.

Anonymous said...

What did anyone expect? The Paleorepublicans and their wealthy fellow travelers have been up to the rape of the environment for decades. And yes, they have been just as busy hammering the rest of us into poverty along the way. The question is, "What are we going to do about it?"

Lisa said...

Well, it's clear even on this post that Scott Walker has accomplished his goal...divide and conquer. The comments on the Milwaukee Journal are just plain scary. He's playing us just like he did with the public worker hatred. This mine will never happen, but it takes the focus off this absolute failure we call governor.

Anonymous said...

A long time ago now I was involved in the Exxon copper mine proposal brought to us by WMC/Klauser/Peshek.

Back then, the nearest tribe had to scrounge a pittance in grant money to pay for legal representation. For lots of reasons, not least the collapse of world copper prices, the mine never got built and the tribe never needed to litigate its sovereign claims.

Fast forward to this much uglier, special interest legislation and a tribe wealthy enough from gambling money to defend a claim that if it looks anything like the one I knew about is strong.

So my guess is this is Walker's political stick in the eye to the left and environmentalists that the anti-intellectual climate deniers who probably also deserve the label racists will flock to like flies to, well, you get the picture..

And one last thing---you know who ended up buying that Exxon copper mine site? The tribe