State Assembly to Vote on Mining Bill this Thursday

TELL THEM TO VOTE NO on AB 426 and Amendment 1

Find your Assembly Rep's contact information HERE
Sunset on the Kakagon Sloughs The Assembly's Mining Bill, AB 426, contradicts Wisconsin's proud history of bipartisan, open environmental legislation. The bill was drafted by and for the iron mining industry, to serve the interests of Gogebic Taconite alone. It disregards and disrespects the people of Wisconsin, the people of the Bad River Tribe, who live downstream from the propose Gogebic Taconite site, and people of all Tribes who hunt, fish and gather on Wisconsin lands.

AB 426 weakens environmental protections for water, air, land, and wetlands.  It threatens to destroy the pristine water, air and land resources on which the Bad River Tribe and their way of life depend. It puts at risk the hundreds of thousands of sustainable tourism and recreation-based jobs in northern Wisconsin that depend on the regions natural resources. It is fiscally irresponsible, putting Wisconsin taxpayers on the hook for a mining company's overhead costs. It fails to recognize the state's obligation to consult with affected tribes regarding permitting, and its elimination of protections for resources on which the tribes depend violates the state's substantive duty to maintain and protect those resources forever.

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Attorney Dennis Grzezinski presents testimony at the Hurley Mining Hearing How could one bill possibly do so much?

The Assembly worked hard to make sure the bill did as much damage as possible.
  • AB 426 trumps other environmental laws if there is any conflict, including protective measures for water quality, air quality and hazardous waste dumping. This presents a public health risk and is not compliant with many federal laws administered by the state.

  • AB 426 limits the amount a mining company has to pay for the cost of reviewing a mining permit and reclamation plan to $2 million. It costs the DNR tens of millions of dollars to complete these reviews. This bill would in effect remove the DNR's ability for meaningful review and put public health and the environment at risk, while putting the Wisconsin taxpayer on the line for covering the costs for these reviews.

  • AB 426 hides important information available under current law as confidential business information. The overburden of Gogebic Taconite's proposed mine contains sulfide minerals, which result in acid drainage and major environmental damage.  This bill makes DNR keep secret the findings of the mining company during exploration.  Current law clearly outlines the information the public and DNR must have for a mine to move forward.

  • AB 426 requires DNR to complete its review of a mining application under unreasonably short arbitrary timelines that prevent DNR from verifying company-provided data – the information must be taken at face value, or the permit review time will expire and the permit automatically approved.

  • AB 426 ignores inconsistencies with federal environmental requirements. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has warned that the arbitrary deadline for DNR to perform its environmental reviews of proposed iron mines will make it impossible for a company to submit a single state/federal permit application.  The company will have to submit separate federal and state applications, a waste of state and federal taxpayers' money.

  • AB 426 eliminates contested case hearings, preventing DNR, citizens and outside experts from effectively questioning the quality or accuracy of information submitted by the mining company.

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While touted as a "jobs bill", there is no objective evidence that this bill will bring a single mining job to the state a day earlier than existing laws

Passing this bill would be an embarrassment to Wisconsin's legacy of thoughtful environmental protection.

Tell your Assembly Representative to Vote NO on AB 426 and Amendment 1.


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