Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sweetheart metals'-mining bill racing to Walker's desk

[Updated from 12:40 p.m. Inspired by the rush to give it all to Foxconn, the mining rights giveaway bill has passed Tuesday night, and Walker will sign it. Read just the excerpts from the bill I pulled out at the bottom of the post, and then consider that what was reported tonight about and from the bill's lead sponsor and mining water-carrier:
Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), the bill's lead Senate sponsor, said it wouldn't change the state's environmental rules for mining and wouldn't stop local governments from prohibiting mining in their area. 
"We are retaining Wisconsin's high environmental standards," Tiffany said. 
 Tom Tiffany I've mentioned several times in recent posts - - a summary item is here - - that legislation to promote acid drainage-producing copper and other metal mining operations in Wisconsin

Utah copper mine

- - like other sweetheart giveaways for large dairy, agricultural, golfing, sand mining and certainly the Foxconn project in our GOP-directed 'chamber of commerce mentality' state  - - is racing towards Senate approval today, pushed there by Scott Walker's wetland-filling, water-hogging special-interest corporate legislative bellhops.

And as I said the other day, this multi-front rush to give special interests every last drop of water and ounce of leverage over public resources, process and law  they've always wanted guarantees they are already rewarded should the US Supreme Court order a redistricting statewide in Wisconsin and put an end to years of one-party, GOO-connected-business-insider rule here:
Walker's been for filling Wisconsin wetlands since forever.
Seriously. Since his very first Executive order.
And for specific wetland acreage eyed by a donor developer right after Walker was sworn in nearly seven years ago.
So of course now's the right time for the right under Walker to get even busier removing wetland protections - - and offering more take-the-water privileges for mining companies and large ag businesses - -  what with a possible GOP-deflating Wisconsin redistricting being ordered by the US Supreme Court.
Having passed the State Assembly and headed to Walker's desk, the mining enabling bill will end decades of bi-partisan practices and standards that protected Wisconsin land and water from acidic-runoff and other environmental damage. 

The bill also wipes out or makes optional nearly all mining fees, weakens public hearing rules, and sets up arbitrary, fast-tracked, review and approval deadlines for what's to remain of the intentionally-watered-down state government assessments.

Here is the text of the bill and below are just a few examples of what the GOP is easing for and giving away to mining companies:

This bill repeals the existing prohibition on issuing sulfide ore mining permits...

After section NR 132.06 (4) was promulgated, this state enacted section 281.36 of the statutes, which requires DNR to issue wetland permits, in a manner consistent with the federal Clean Water Act, for any activity that may affect wetlands, including nonferrous metallic mining operations. This bill repeals section NR 132.06 (4) of the administrative code... 

The bill provides that DNR is not required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for an approval required for bulk sampling [ore removal up to 10,000 tons for sample testing]...

Under current law, any person who is aggrieved by a DNR decision relating to nonferrous metallic exploration, prospecting, or mining may request an administrative contested case hearing, unless the matter was heard at the master hearing.

Under the bill, a person may not request a contested case hearing on a DNR decision relating to exploration or bulk sampling. However, a person may request a contested case hearing on a DNR decision relating to a mining or prospecting permit, including a decision related to the EIS for the proposed prospecting or mining operation or a decision on any approval related to the prospecting or mining permit application. A person seeking such a contested case hearing must request the hearing within 30 days after DNR issues the decision to approve or deny the mining or prospecting permit. In addition, the bill requires the hearing examiner in such a contested case hearing to issue a decision within 270 days after DNR approves or denies the mining or prospecting permit... 

This bill exempts nonferrous metallic mining from certain solid waste disposal 
fees that are required under current law. Under current law, a generator of solid or hazardous waste, including at a nonferrous metallic mining waste site, must generally pay license and review fees; tonnage fees; groundwater and well 

compensation fees; a solid waste facility siting board fee; a recycling fee; and an environmental repair fee and repair surcharge. This bill exempts nonferrous metallic mining waste sites from the review and license fees, tonnage fees, and recycling fee.

1 comment:

Jim Limbach said...

We rose to the occasion and defeated the disastrous/draconian Penokee mine proposal. We are now well organized stopping the Back Forty project. Looks like we'd better gird our loins and be prepared for the onslaught of many more deadly projects. I can't say I know how all this will play out but I'm set for round two and just maybe this progressive state will wake up to the challenge. People wake up in survival situations.