An unlikely coalition has lined up against mining companies and the Republicans who love them.
Mark your calendar for noon Saturday, January 26. That’s the scheduled birth of a “new coalition” of Native American tribes, environmental and sport fishing groups, and friends, who will gather at the capitol in Madison in a statewide demonstration opposing another attempt to destroy Wisconsin’s prized moratorium on metallic sulfide mining. Your presence is welcome. No RSVP required.
The January 26 demonstration will be “a very powerful counterweight” to new legislation seen as paving a way to eventually destroy Wisconsin’s 1998 “prove it first” law, says Al Gedicks, of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council . Republican leaders including Governor Walker have said they’ll introduce The Bad River Watershed Destruction Act (that’s its popular title) this month. The bill is also called Gogebic Taconite’s (GTac) Strip Mine legislation.
“There has never been an example of a metallic sulfide mine that has safely operated and closed without polluting the environment,” says a briefing paper by the Sierra Club and the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council. State legislators will receive copies of that paper and other clear scientific information supporting rejection of the next version of pro-strip mining legislation. Will they pay attention?
Two important factors might help lawmakers stay focused on their obligation to serve the people of Wisconsin, rather than the corporate mining interests.
First, said Gedicks when he spoke with Fighting Bob Radio hosts Ed Garvey and Eric Schubring January 10, is the reality that GTac’s strip mine proposal fundamentally threatens Bad River Ojibwe Tribe natural resources, which are protected by treaty rights. The tribe can set water standards and challenge the permitting process in federal court, “which would delay any kind of decision on the mine for years.”