September 2013 Newsletter
September 3, 2013
Dear WRPC Member,
More than 100 people spoke out at the August 15, 2013 public hearing in Hurley, Wisconsin on Gogebic Taconite’s (GTac’s) proposed bulk sampling activity in the Penokee Hills. The overwhelming majority of the testimony was against the project, citing concerns about treaty rights, pollution of critical watersheds and GTac’s coverup of the health hazards from asbestiform minerals in the rock to be blasted.
“This should kill the mine”
Despite the documented occurrence of grunerite (an asbestiform mineral) within the proposed mine site, GTac continues to claim there is no asbestos. Dr. Joseph Skulan, a geochemist with the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum until quite recently, told Terri Hansen of Indian Country Today Media Network.com “Their response is a lie or it indicates scientific incompetence. This should kill the mine.”
Allie Raven, a Bad River Ojibwe tribal member, was one of the first to testify. She set the tone for the hearing: “Don’t let an inexperienced company with an ill-conceived, vague and scientifically unsupportable plan experiment on and destroy the Bad River Watershed, the most pristine and valuable watershed in the Great Lakes Basin, and the human, animal, and plant life it supports (see “Other View” enclosed).
“I cannot have outbursts like that”
The DNR hearing examiner insisted that there would be no protest signs or applause or booing during the public testimony. The audience observed this rule until Barbara With, a citizen journalist from Madeline Island, Wisconsin, asked the DNR how the Iron Mining bill became law when the vast majority of the public testimony at every public hearing was against the bill.
“When corporations collude with legislators by paying them, and legislators vote for the corporations and abandon the people of this state, it’s called fascism. And that’s what happened to this state…If you guys push this thing through knowing there is asbestos, knowing there are sulfides…and continue with the lies and deceptions, I will hold you accountable as fascists as well.”
The audience immediately broke into spontaneous applause and cheers. The hearing examiner warned that “I’m going to have to close the hearing down.” But the applause continued and the hearing examiner dared not close the hearing.
The public can submit comments on GTac’s preapplication mine plan until September 17. Send to Larry Lynch, DNR, 101 S. Webster St, Madison, WI 53707 or by email to: DNRWAMINING-GOGEBICTACONITE@ Wisconsin.gov
One Year Anniversary of Citizen and Tribal Defeat of Proposed Lynne Mine
Karl Fate of Rhinelander, Wisconsin reminds us that in January 2012 the Oneida County Mining Oversight/Local Impact Committee was planning to review and approve bid packages for a mining lease at the Lynne Site, a vast saturated wetland area in western Oneida County. Because of a large citizen and tribal presence at that meeting “there was no review of the bid packages and the Committee was instructed by the Oneida County Board to look into having hearings on the issue.”
The Committee did its best to limit public input into the process and when that became increasingly difficult to do, they cancelled the hearings altogether. “The Committee then came back to the board in August 2012 with an ultimatum. Either you let us proceed with pursuing a mining lease or there will be no metallic mining on our County Forests at all. The Oneida County Board said no on a 12 to 9 vote. At this point the Board room was full of people opposing the leasing. The Town of Lynne, Lac du Flambeau, Mole Lake, and many from the Rhinelander area and elsewhere in the County spoke against the leasing. As a result of the vote, Oneida County is no longer pursuing a mining lease and the 25 year old policy of allowing metallic mining on County Forest is dead.”
If not for citizen-tribal opposition, “the Lynne Site would have certainly been leased, most probably to Aquila Resources, and the lease holders would already have ‘employed’ Scott Walker and Tom Tiffany to work on weakening the laws to facilitate a mine at the site. Would we have armed guards patrolling our County’s ‘Public’ Lands?
September 15, 2013 Fundraiser for Bad River Legal Defense Fund
Madison Action for Mining Alternatives (MAMA) is sponsoring a fundraiser for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Legal Defense Fund on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm in the Historic Frank Lloyd Wright Landmark Auditorium at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, Madison, Wisconsin. A $20 donation at the door is suggested.
Featured guests include Mike Wiggins, Bad River Tribal Chairman, Joe Rose, Bad River tribal elder and Patty Loew, Bad River Tribal member, author, former TV producer and host at Wisconsin Public Television, and University of Wisconsin Professor in the Dept. of Life Sciences Communication.
Please Renew Your Membership
This is the time we ask our members to use the return envelope to renew your membership in WRPC. If the date on your mailing label is anytime before 09/13, it means your annual membership is due ($15 for regular or $5 senior/low income). Thank you for your continued support.
Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary