Consider The Facts

The proposed 22-mile mountaintop removal open pt iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills would be the largest iron ore mine in the United States, and make northern Wisconsin "The Grand Canyon of the North"

The proposed 22-mile mountaintop removal open pt iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills would be the largest iron ore mine in the United States, and make northern Wisconsin “The Grand Canyon of the North” Map: Cark Sack

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.

Watch videos of the Republicans testimony here.

  • 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.
The topography of the area shows a natural basin, where the waters of the Bad River watershed feed the area

The topography of the area shows a natural basin, where the waters of the Bad River watershed feed the entire area.

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

Thirty years later, the mine was so exhausted that it was no longer profitable. The pit was abandoned and the water pumps were shut down. Without the pumps, rain and groundwater gradually began to rise in the pit, leaching out the metals and minerals in the surrounding rock. The water became as acidic as a lemon, creating a toxic mixture of heavy metal poisons such as arsenic, lead, and zinc. No fish live there, and no plants line the shores. There aren’t even any insects around, only some rare kinds of microorganisms survive in the toxic water. The Berkeley Pit had become one of the deadliest places on earth. The iron-rich water near the surface is reddish, yielding to a vibrant lime-green hue not far below the surface, where copper concentrations are higher. If you were to drink large amounts of this water it would kill you by corroding your body from inside. In 1995, a flock of snow geese stopped for a rest at the pond, and 342 of them died there. Authorities use gunshots and loudspeakers to scare away migrating waterfowl, but there have been a few smaller die-offs nonetheless. Sometimes a sinister mist creeps out of the Pit and into the streets of Butte. Citizens are scared about this potentially poisonous fog. The water level is still rising, and if unchecked it will spill over into the area’s groundwater in twenty years. That danger made the area one of the EPA’s largest Superfund sites. Currently, the EPA’s plan is to focus on containment.

Just outside Butte, Montana lies Berkeley Pit: a pit filled with greenish poison a mile and a half wide and over a third of a mile deep. It was once a thriving copper mine where millions of tons of copper ore, silver, gold, and other metals were extracted from the soil. When underground mining became too costly in the 1950’s, Berkeley Pit became an open pit mine. As the mine grew bigger and deeper, groundwater began to seep into the pit, and pumps had to be installed to keep it from slowly flooding. Thirty years later, the mine was so exhausted that it was no longer profitable. The pit was abandoned and the water pumps were shut down. Without the pumps, rain and groundwater gradually began to rise in the pit, leaching out the metals and minerals in the surrounding rock. The water became as acidic as a lemon, creating a toxic mixture of heavy metal poisons such as arsenic, lead, and zinc. No fish live there, and no plants line the shores. There aren’t even any insects around, only some rare kinds of microorganisms survive in the toxic water. The Berkeley Pit had become one of the deadliest places on earth. The iron-rich water near the surface is reddish, yielding to a vibrant lime-green hue not far below the surface, where copper concentrations are higher. If you were to drink large amounts of this water it would kill you by corroding your body from inside.  Source: http://www.losapos.com

Water in the Berkeley Pit. In 1995, a flock of snow geese stopped for a rest at the pond, and 342 of them died there. Authorities use gunshots and loudspeakers to scare away migrating waterfowl, but there have been a few smaller die-offs nonetheless. Sometimes a sinister mist creeps out of the Pit and into the streets of Butte. Citizens are scared about this potentially poisonous fog. The water level is still rising, and if unchecked it will spill over into the area’s groundwater in twenty years. That danger made the area one of the EPA’s largest Superfund sites. Currently, the EPA’s plan is to focus on containment.

Water in the Berkeley Pit. In 1995, a flock of snow geese stopped for a rest at the pond, and 342 of them died there. Authorities use gunshots and loudspeakers to scare away migrating waterfowl, but there have been a few smaller die-offs nonetheless. Sometimes a sinister mist creeps out of the Pit and into the streets of Butte. Citizens are scared about this potentially poisonous fog. The water level is still rising, and if unchecked it will spill over into the area’s groundwater in twenty years. That danger made the area one of the EPA’s largest Superfund sites. Currently, the EPA’s plan is to focus on containment. Source: http://www.losapos.com

Hull Rust Mine, Hibbing, MN

The worlds biggest open pit mine can be found near Hibbing, Minnesota. At its maximum, the area covered by the Hull Rust open pit mine is five miles (8km) long, 2 miles (3,2km) wide and 535 feet (180m) deep. It looks like a man-made Grand Canyon of over 2,000 acres (8,1km²). The first iron ore extractions were made here in 1895. Beginning as a small underground mine, the land eventually became one vast open pit as other mines began to develop and emerge. The center of the actual pit is located where the original town of Hibbing once stood. As the mine grew bigger, the town had to be moved. The move started in 1919 and took two years to complete. 185 houses and 20 businesses were moved a couple of miles to the south. Some of the larger buildings even had to be cut in half before they could be moved. A few remnants of the original town are left near a lookout point at the edge of the mine.

The worlds biggest open pit mine can be found near Hibbing, Minnesota. At its maximum, the area covered by the Hull Rust open pit mine is five miles (8km) long, 2 miles (3,2km) wide and 535 feet (180m) deep. It looks like a man-made Grand Canyon of over 2,000 acres (8,1km²). The first iron ore extractions were made here in 1895. Beginning as a small underground mine, the land eventually became one vast open pit as other mines began to develop and emerge. The center of the actual pit is located where the original town of Hibbing once stood. As the mine grew bigger, the town had to be moved. The move started in 1919 and took two years to complete. 185 houses and 20 businesses were moved a couple of miles to the south. Some of the larger buildings even had to be cut in half before they could be moved. A few remnants of the original town are left near a lookout point at the edge of the mine. Source: losapos.com

Since the Hull Rust mining operations started 1895, over 530 million tons of waste material and nearly 700 million tons of iron ore have been extracted from the pit. It has been calculated that all the material removed - approximately 1.2 billion gross tons - is equivalent to digging a tunnel through the core of the earth and out the other side. The mine is still operated today by the Hibbing Taconite Company, and taconite pellets are extracted at the rate of 8.2 million tons annually (not counting waste overburden).

Since the Hull Rust mining operations started 1895, over 530 million tons of waste material and nearly 700 million tons of iron ore have been extracted from the pit. It has been calculated that all the material removed – approximately 1.2 billion gross tons – is equivalent to digging a tunnel through the core of the earth and out the other side. The mine is still operated today  and taconite pellets are extracted at the rate of 8.2 million tons annually (not counting waste overburden). The Gogebic Mine would be larger in scope that the Rust Hull, making it the largest. Source: losapos.com

One thought on “Consider The Facts

  1. This person (Brian Sikma – Media Trackers and Right Wisconsin) is still talking about old fabricated news deluding the fact that blasting off a hill top, killing the trees, taking away the eagle homes, and people’s homes while creating sulfuric acid drainage into Bad River into Lake Superior making drinking water undrinkable when Sen. Tiffany admitted to relaxing the environmental standards after the bill’s vote is perfectly acceptable?

    Blasting powder was replaced with nitroglycerine, dynamite and ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil) from dynamite to blow off the Penokee Hill top to get start drilling that would pollute the air into the waters making it poison, and undrinkable while killing off the wildlife, game, food and the eagles, and fish is perfectly acceptable? Yet they want to delude the truth about the EPA standards with the Bad River Tribe? Its a complete distraction far beyond comprehension where they just do not want the truth to reveal itself of the facts so let’s pick on the small delusions where these people do not know or live in the area, huh. Let alone know how to read, and do the research.

    At least one is doing acts to fix and correct the problem, not creating them. Spreading propaganda from Mr. Sikma. – last time I checked he posts onto white supremacists pages as well, so who’s on the hypocrisy lane here? Are we Wisconsinites or not? Come together United, our State needs everyone to secure our water where we will be much better place to live in prosperity, instead of fueling division based upon deceit.

    Then he goes as far to post without understanding anything, “Army Corps: Bad River Band Moves to Permanently Fill Wetlands” | Media Trackers
    MEDIATRACKERS.ORG.

    The irony is that “Right Wisconsin,” is paying for Facebook AD’s to like their page, and website to fuel their propaganda some more. Last time we checked grassroots is grassroots and not paid propaganda. – http://www.rightwisconsin.com/dailytakes/196686751.html

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