Letter to the editor
New law poses economic, environmental threat
March 21, 2013
So Gov. Scott Walker has signed SB1 into law, the iron ore mining bill written by the Florida company Gogebic Taconite and passed by a party-line vote in the state senate and assembly.
SB1 is so wrong-headed and ill-conceived that, as Senator Tim Cullen, Democrat, has remarked, the only jobs it may generate will be for the platoons of lawyers and paralegals brought in to challenge the law in court.
The Bad River Band of Ojibway depend for its health and livelihood on the watershed area affected by the proposed mine. They will justifiably do all they can to make sure the 22-mile open pit mine is never built under provisions of the current law.
Some speculate that the Republicans, recognizing the probability of the mine being defeated in court, are simply playing politics, so they can conveniently blame Democrats and other opponents of SB1 for Gov. Walker’s failure to create a promised 250,000 jobs.
That the Republicans care more about politics than jobs is evident in their refusal to craft a more environmentally sound bipartisan mining bill with their Democratic colleagues.
Republicans in fact shot down any change to SB1 proposed by a Democrat, even an amendment authored by Representative Amy Sue Vruwink that would have required informing Wisconsin workers living near the mining site of job opportunities before recruiting out-of-state workers.
Our local Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and Rep. Dean Knudson followed Gov. Walker right off this cliff. Once more they have chosen to defend big money interests over the health and economic concerns of Wisconsinites.
The day Gov. Walker signed SB1, I signed a check to the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, Box 263, Tomahawk, WI 54487, a conservation group who will fight this irresponsible legislation.
Thomas R. Smith