A nasty mining bill passed Wisconsin's Republican controlled Senate the other night. You can read about that here. It is clear that this bill, which was specifically written by the very company that will profit from its passing, will certainly pass through the House, and will quickly move its way to Scott Walker's desk. Of course, he is desperate for jobs, and the selling point of "Wisconsin Is Open For Business" is to strip all regulation so that corporate donors will be happy with their profit margins. Job-creation projection has been wildly optimistic, and we don't have an independent press to either research or question the claims. The bill will allow a massive open-pit iron mine to be carved into the earth immediately upriver from pristine waterways that cover the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa's reservation. During weeks of contentious debate, the Republicans claimed there would be little environmental damage, that we all care so very much for our land and water. Yesterday, the author of the bill, Senator Tom Tiffany explains away some interesting editorial changes, as seen below the picture of Ojibwe families holding Overpass Light Brigade messages at a recent pow-wow:
Tiffany made the admission after being asked Thursday in an interview with the Cap Times how Republicans could continue to claim the mining bill doesn't risk environmental harm when:Isn't that interesting? From "unnecessary" adverse affects to "necessary" adverse affects!
• It specifically changes the wording of existing state permitting law from “significant adverse affects (to wetlands) are presumed to be unnecessary” to “significant adverse affects are presumed to be necessary.”
• Bill Williams, present of Gogebic Taconite, which is proposing a massive iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties, said in a recent Wisconsin State Journal article that as much as 30 to 40 percent of the 3,300 acres it is leasing could be covered by waste piles if it builds a $1.2 billion open-pit iron ore mine.
• The land above the rich vein of iron ore contains hundreds of acres of wetlands, numerous pristine trout streams and several small tributaries that feed into the Bad River. The Bad River wends its way to Lake Superior through the Bad River Indian Reservation, which includes culturally and economically significant rice beds.
This way, when it all goes to court, judges will understand that their intentions all along were clear: the land plundered, the Ojibwe's homeland destroyed by acidic tailing dumped into their sacred rice gathering ground, but gee, they were clear about it all along. Or at least after the bill was passed through the one branch where the vote was close.
We lost by one vote. Now the fight begins!