According to the testimony of Republicans who sponsored Wisconsin’s new mining law:
- After two years of claiming that the mine will not pollute, the bill’s sponsor admited it presumes there will be pollution and provides protection for the corporation and the legislators pushing the bill instead of the people and the resources of the State. By doing so, they are abandoning their oath of public office and are putting our water at great risk.
- That the law values profits over public safety.
- The DNR will have no regulatory power, it will only be a permitting entity.
- Local control will be given over to a mining company, and in a case if disagreement with Federal law, SB1/AB1 would prevail.
- January 2011: GTAC held a public forum at the Great Lakes Visitor Center assuring us they would not be seeking changes to the law. At that time, their lawyers were already working on writing the new bill. We continued to be deceived about who wrote the bill, until it was revealed that GTAC authored it;
- Every public testimony over mining in the last two years has proven the people are overwhelmingly against the bill;
- Scientists who have studied the geology of the region testify on the amounts of damaging sulfides in the ore, including a professor of geology at Lawrence University.
- Racism and ignoring of Federal Treaty Rights;
- Repeated opposition from geologists, economists, business owners, senators and representatives, farmers, Native Americans, town, city and county elected officials, former mining employees, children, elders, and citizens from every walk of life;
- A group of advocates for the mine have deep ties with ALEC, the corporate think tank that writes bills benefiting the corporations;
- Leg Council lays out the FACTS;
- Historic proof that mining will not provide economic prosperity;
- Millions of dollars of political contributions to the supporters of the mining bill;
- Incompetence on the part of the press concerning the issues;
- Flambeau Mine received 11 violations of water contamination and weakened the economy of the area;
- Deceptive and misleading information being spread by the mining company, the professional press and Republican legislators;
- A mine will result in the genocide of not just the Great Lakes Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, but the degradation of the lives of all citizens of the area.
- Further, the bill puts all waters of the State at risk of degradation for the sake of private profits, violating the Public Trust Doctrine.
- The Penokee Range, Copper Falls State Park and Bad River Watershed are under threat of destruction from taconite mining. If destroyed, significant tourist, farming, fishing and hunting income will also be lost.
- The Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs, at the mouth of the Bad River Watershed on Lake Superior, have been designated a Wetland of International Importance. They host a diversity of habitat, plants, and animals; are a spawning and nursery area for fish; and provide critical stopover habitat for migratory birds.
- The watershed’s surface and groundwater provides drinking water for the towns of Ashland, Mellen, Highbridge, Marengo, Odanah and Upson.
- A potential lease between GTAC and Iron County for toxic mine waste storage, affects over 1,000 acres of wetlands, many connected to trout streams.
- Pyrite and other sulfide minerals in waste rock, exposed to water and air from blasting, produce sulfuric acid, and would put fish, plants and animals in the watershed at risk.
- Taconite mining is the 2nd largest source of mercury emissions after coal power plants in the Lake Superior basin. All WI waterways are already under fish advisories for mercury.
- Blasting particles less than 1/100th the diameter of a human hair, (size of a virus) transmit easily on the wind and are highly carcinogenic. The human system cannot block particles of this size.
- Miners on the Iron Range have much higher rates of the rare mesothelioma, AND higher rates of lung cancer and heart disease than the general MN population.
- Mining does not bring lasting prosperity. Median household income in St. Louis County, with Minnesota’s largest taconite mines, was 22% below the state average between 2007-2011.
- Cliffs Natural Resources is closing/downsizing its two open pit iron mines in the Michigan UP as demand for ore declines.
- Mining creates a devastating boom/bust economic cycle.
- The Lake Superior Chippewa have harvested wild rice in the sloughs for centuries, and continue to enjoy it as a sacred food.
- In the first phase, this mine would blast a crater four miles wide and 1000 feet deep in the Penokee Hills at the headwaters of Bad River.
- New Wisconsin laws allow streams and lakes to be filled with waste rock from mining. Mining companies are also allowed to make unfettered draw downs of the water table.
- This mine would create an estimated 910 million tons of waste rock, likely producing sulfate pollution greater than that which resulted in a 100-mile wild rice dead zone in the St. Louis River, downstream from the Mesabi Iron Range.
- Safe taconite mining is a myth. No taconite mine has ever operated without producing air and water pollution.
Despite these facts and more that the people of Wisconsin have stated repeatedly and emphatically at every public hearing, the Republicans colluded to use their power of majority to vote to pass a law that turns the resources of Wisconsin over to an out-of-state mining company.
Every good citizen of this state should be outraged and alarmed.
This new mining law will take the entire state into an environmental, economic and spiritual degradation from which we may never recover.
Because of all this, and that this legislation was pushed through against the will of the people, We the People are standing up united in defense of our water.
Consider these deadly mines
Berkley Pit, Butte, Montana
Hull Rust Mine, Hibbing, MN