Monday, March 31, 2014

Oh, Canada. Oh, Wisconsin

The New York Times has outdone itself over the last two days, running a strong op-ed about Canada's demolition of its environment to extract and sell tar sand crude oil, and a separate opinion piece about the proposed GTac open-pit iron ore mine that would wreck the Bad River watershed in Northern Wisconsin.

And it's hard to miss a crucial similarity: in both Canada and Wisconsin - - despite long stewardship histories - - governments have rewritten and weakened laws to enable resource extraction regardless of the consequences to land, water and environmental legacies. 

About the Wisconsin situation, author Dan Kaufman writes:

To facilitate the construction of the mine and the company’s promise of 700 long-term jobs, Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last year granting GTac astonishing latitude. The new law allows the company to fill in pristine streams and ponds with mine waste. It eliminates a public hearing that had been mandated before the issuing of a permit, which required the company to testify, under oath, that the project had complied with all environmental standards. It allows GTac to pay taxes solely on profit, not on the amount of ore removed, raising the possibility that the communities affected by the mine’s impact on the area’s roads and schools would receive only token compensation.
About the Canadian situation, author Jacques Leslie writes:
After winning an outright parliamentary majority in 2011, Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party passed an omnibus bill that revoked or weakened 70 environmental laws, including protections for rivers and fisheries. As a result, one proposed pipeline, the Northern Gateway, which crosses a thousand rivers and streams between Alberta and the Pacific, no longer risked violating the law. The changes also eliminated federal environmental review requirements for thousands of proposed development projects.
It all comes full circle, as the Koch brothers are major lease holders in the Canadian tar sand territory and they back Scott Walker.

Walker tells Pres. Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and Canadian crude leaks into Lake Michigan.

It's clear that special interests and major corporations are running the show in Wisconsin and Canada, at the expense of land, water and law.


Jim Limbach said...

Nothing new under the criminal's rule: ''The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.'' Lao Tse, 6th century BC

Charly Ray said...

Note there are also pipelines running from Canada through Northern Wisconsin carrying oil.

Anonymous said...

I think there was Koch money behind Steven Harper's ascent to power. I noticed 20 years ago that he seemed to have the backing of conservative American business people.

Betsey said...

nice headline. Good tie-in with Canadian environmental deregulation. Thanks for keeping us informed.