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Sierra Club will oppose mining permit legislation

Steel News - Published on Thu, 12 May 2011

The Sierra Club announced that it will strongly oppose new legislation proposed by State Rep. Mark Honadel and State Sen Rich Zipperer that could fast-track a mining permit process for the proposed Gogebic Taconite open pit taconite mine in the Penokees.

BusinessNorth of Duluth reported this week that representatives of Gogebic Taconite have met directly with Honadel and Zipperer to draft legislation designed to shorten and limit the Wisconsin mining permit review to 300 days. By contrast, permitting of the Flambeau Mine took over four years and permit review for the Crandon mine took approximately 10 years but did not result in a permit.

Mr Shahla Werner PhD, Sierra Club chapter director said that “Wisconsin’s mining law is designed to be a transparent process that allows public input and scientific study to ensure that our natural resources and residents are protected before permits are given. Fast tracking this proposal is outrageous and is entirely inappropriate given that mining is an extremely large and polluting industry that requires much more time and effort to study, not less. If GTAC can’t play by our rules, it shouldn’t be in Wisconsin.”

The Sierra Club\'s mining committee chairman described the mining proposal as a recipe for disaster.

Dave Blouin mining committee chair said that “A fast track review process is a recipe for disaster. GTAC’s proposed mine is to be a minimum of four miles of open pit mining and would likely be the largest mine ever in Wisconsin. Open pit iron ore mining is not a benign and clean industry. You need only look to Minnesota’s iron range to see a moonscape of wastes and open pits causing pollution. The mine permitting processes for the Flambeau mine and Crandon proposal demonstrated that the process works. Those mine applications needed years of study and review to determine impacts and design mine facilities that protect air, water, wildlife and public health.”

A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis of 2010 campaign contributions by Gogebic Taconite showed that the mining company and its executives and its law firm gave nearly $40,000 to only four candidates last fall: Scott Walker, Mark Honadel, Jeff Plale and Shirl LaBarre. LaBarre and Plale lost their races. LaBarre lost her race to Janet Bewley who is now State Representative to the 74th District, where the proposed mine would be sited.

(Sourced from

Posted By : admin on Thu, 12 May 2011
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