Monday, July 1, 2013

On Mining, Lobbying, Tiffany Is A Gem

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R-Hazelhurst), has denigrated the leader of a mainstream statewide conservation, hunting and angling group as a "paid lobbyist."

The attack had the credibility of Lance Armstrong spotting a fellow cyclist sipping an espresso and yelling, "Doper!"

The conservation group leader was Atty. George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and formerly the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during some of the Tommy Thompson years.

You can find links to Tiffany's statement and Meyer's reaction, here, and below I've posted some information about the role of lobbying and outside influences in creating the mining bill that Tiffany helped push to approval.

* As early as December 19. 2011, there were published reports that the mining company was directly involved in the drafting of the mining bill - - a process closed to environmental groups and tribal representatives.

Consider the details in this story:

The bill was largely written by five Republicans and their staffs who huddled for months with different parties, including the business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and representatives of iron ore mining company Gogebic Taconite, which wants to construct a mine in northern Wisconsin
*  Iron mining executives and interests were major Walker contributors; and additional donations flowed to Walker's gubernatorial campaigns and those of his GOP legislative allies.

*  I'd posted emails received under an Open Records request last year showing instant communications on the iron mine legislation between lobbyists and the office of State Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, (R-Juneau).

*  Another set of emails produced under a separate Open Records showed Legislative Reference Bureau and GOP legislative staffers processing "GTAC requests."

* Tiffany collected $3,300 in contributions in September, 2012 from four persons associated with Gogebic Taconite, records show.

*  Fitzgerald put Tiffany in charge of the eventual mining bill that was approved and signed by Walker:
Fitzgerald tapped Tom Tiffany, a former member of the Assembly from Hazelhurst who was elected to the Senate in November, to chair the Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining and Revenue Committee when lawmakers return in January. 
Tiffany was a strong supporter of the Assembly bill. 
The panel, controlled 3-2 by Republicans, will have a big hand in mining legislation. The other two GOP members on the committee are Sens. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend). 
[Gogebic mining company lobbyist Bob] Seitz said Gogebic and Walker have discussed the company's concerns on several occasions.
 * How strong a supporter of this industry/lobbyist influenced bill?

Tiffany was the one who finally admitted that the bill would lead environment damage, but was crafted to ward off resulting legal changes - - a big favor to the mining company:
In a legal context, the wording change proves lawmakers knowingly passed a bill that they accepted would cause some harm to the environment, Tiffany adds, making it more difficult for a lawsuit to be successful on the grounds that a mining permit caused harm to the environment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too bad Tiffany is such a dimwit. He has no idea how cleverly he 'got took' to the woodshed.