To read the Sierra Club and WRPC briefing paper on the mining moratorium law, please click on the following link: Mining Moratorium Briefing Paper
By Al Gedicks and Dave Blouin
Duluth News Tribune
How is it possible that the Wisconsin legislature is ready to pass legislation to create fast-tracked, less-protective ferrous (iron) mining laws for what promises be the largest open-pit iron mine in the world with no scientific evidence to justify treating iron mining differently than other metallic mining?
If Gogebic Taconite proceeds with a proposal, its first phase of mining alone would be larger than the acknowledged largest iron mine in the world, the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine in Hibbing. The taconite ore body in northern Wisconsin is known to run 22 miles, meaning the expansion of mining after phase one could result in an even larger mine with more potential to destroy rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater.
The main proponents of an iron mining bill in Wisconsin — including Gogebic Taconite, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Mining Association — have misled legislators with claims that the iron ore in Ashland and Iron counties is more environmentally safe compared to metallic sulfide mining and thus requires separate regulations.
Madison–The Sierra Club, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and over 75 other organizations, including Trout Unlimited, the Wisconsin Association of Lakes, the Izaak Walton League of Wisconsin, the River Alliance of Wisconsin, the Penokee Hills Education Project, the Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin, Clean Wisconsin, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and many more statewide, regional and national groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council released an open letter urging Wisconsin legislators to reject changes to Wisconsin’s mining safeguards.