| February 22, 2013
The Iron Mining Bill (SB/AB 1) is scheduled for a vote by the Joint Finance Committee on Monday and could move to the floor of the Senate or Assembly as early as Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
This is your last chance to urge your Senator and Representative to vote no. If you haven’t already, please call or email your elected representatives
Wooded Wetland in Iron County on land leased by mining company. John Coleman, GLIFWC.
While you are at it, cc your email to the
Co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, Sen. Alberta Darling and
Rep. John Nygren.
Despite recent amendments, SB/AB 1 is still chock full of provisions that weaken or eliminate long-standing protections for wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater. It establishes a mining permit review process that assumes even large-scale impacts to these resources can be mitigated. It authorizes, and in many cases requires, approval of these impacts if compensation will be provided.
Wisconsin Wetlands Association opposes this bill because we know from decades of experience that mitigation cannot compensate for impacts that fundamentally alter the hydrology and topography of a high quality watershed.
In the case of the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine, we are talking about large-scale impacts to the headwaters of the Upper Bad River and Tyler Forks watersheds.
To get a feel for the extent of the abundant wetlands at the base of the Penokee Hills, see this wetland inventory map of the Anderson Township. It shows the approximate boundaries of a single parcel in Iron County that Gogebic has an option to lease, presumably for the purpose of waste-rock disposal. SB/AB 1 requires DNR to authorize significant adverse impacts to wetlands if compensation is provided elsewhere within the Lake Superior Basin.
This map shows the extent of rivers and headwater streams in the vicinity of the proposed pit. Areas marked in red are those navigable waters where fill can be authorized if compensation is provided. Read this memo for an explanation of the provisions of the bill and analysis used to generate the map.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, supporters of SB/AB 1 continue to insist that the bill does not weaken environmental protections and that the Gogebic mine can be built without harming the environment or people in that region.
Wisconsin Wetlands Association urges you to contact your elected officials today to urge them to vote no on SB/AB 1.