To the Telegram:
The major issue regarding the current mining bill stems from the Gogebic Taconite proposal for the Penokee mine in northern Wisconsin. The proposed bill before the Assembly would rewrite current mining laws. Those laws deal with regulations governing ground water, surface waters and management of soil and hazardous waste. The Assembly bill essentially allows for non-compliance with existing environmental protections.
So what are we getting if the Senate passes the modified Assembly bill? An initial hiring of about 600-700 workers who may or may not come from Wisconsin, and a $1.5 billion project which will build an open pit mine along a ridge in Iron and Ashland counties four miles long and 1, 000 feet deep. Picture what you see now and visualize what this mine will do to that picture. Then imagine not being able to breathe the air, drink the water, harvest the wetlands or see the wildlife. I’m shocked that there is a debate and not outrage at the mere thought of such a prospect.