As we reported last week, Wisconsin state senator Tom Tiffany (R- Hazelhurst) introduced a “new” mining bill, SB-1, which is a virtual re-hash of the controversial AB 426 that was defeated last session.
There only hearing on this bill will be Wednesday, January 23rd, at 9am in Madison (click for details).
Because this bill is viewed as environmentally destructive, and because the damage that will be done is beyond the powers of restoration ecology to either mitigate, rehabilitate, or restore, the Wisconsin Wetlands Association is seeking your help. You can start by contacting your legislators, attending the hearing, and spreading the word. Below is the text of an email Wetland Alert sent by the Wisconsin Wetlands Association
“The bill is written with a singular goal in mind: to facilitate the approval of permits for an open pit iron mine on Wisconsin’s Penokee Range. It is loaded with provisions that weaken or remove protections for wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.”
“The bad provisions are too numerous to name and too far gone to fix. In a nutshell, the bill presumes that significant adverse impacts to wetlands are necessary when developing iron mines; makes it easier to fill and dewater lakes, rivers, and streams; and threatens to pollute groundwater. No matter how extensive or how destructive the impacts to lakes, rivers, wetlands, and drinking water will be, the bill requires DNR to approve the impacts if mitigation measures will be enacted.”
“The bill also eliminates the requirement that mining applicants disclose information on the nature of the overburden above the ore body. This is a thinly veiled effort to allow the company to hide information about the presence of sulfide minerals. Extracted sulfide minerals can cause acid drainage and irreparably poison downstream waters and groundwater.”
“By disrespecting science and devaluing independent expert input, the bill also makes it nearly impossible for the DNR to conduct an adequate science-based environmental review before rendering a decision on a mining application.”
Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs. Photo: Eric Epstien.
“A mine built under this framework threatens public health and would needlessly destroy hundreds, if not thousands of acres of wetlands, and countless other high quality waters in the upper Bad River watershed. Those impacts would impair the entire watershed, including the 16,000 acres of internationally recognized wetlands known as the Kakagon and Bad River Sloughs
“Please contact your legislators
today to urge them to vote no on this bill. Even if you believe your legislators share your views on this bill, it is important that they hear from constituents who oppose it.”
to read the memo released by the Legislative Council described the bill. We’ll post more information as it becomes available. For the most immediate updates, please follow us on Facebook