From our readersIssue Date: September 20, 2017
While concerned citizens on either side of the Menominee River have been fighting a battle against the Back Forty Mine project, Wisconsin's Senator Tom Tiffany - our own representative - has been crafting a bill (SB 395) to re-open the door to toxic mining in Wisconsin.
For 20 years, Wisconsin's waterways, wilderness, and wildlife have been protected by the Prove it First mining law. That law requires mining companies to provide specific proof a sulfide mine can run for 10 years and be closed for 10 years without polluting groundwater and surface waters with acid drainage.
In 20 years, no mining company has provided this proof.
Senator Tiffany's bill would repeal the Prove it First law, unleashing a wild "gold rush' in Wisconsin. In a recent letter to senator Tiffany concerning the topic of re-introducing sulfide mining, I asked him how he could logically risk destroying our fragile ecosystem. His response, "The bill reduced no environmental stands - none," is demonstrably false. View the text of SB 395 at docs.legis.wisconsin.gov, and discover the long list of proposed reductions to current environmental regulations. The bill reduces vital protection to wetlands and groundwater standards. The bill reduces the necessary proof of financial responsibility for long-term care after the mine is closed, and it even reduces contested case hearings by the public.
We must act swiftly to stop this bill and the insidious spread of more "Back Forties'! Contact Senator Tiffany today and tell him he has no right to jeopardize Wisconsin's precious environment with the promise of a few mining jobs, and that history will hold him responsible for his actions.
Call or write to the four Wisconsin swing vote senators: Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay_, Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point), Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls), and Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and tell them to vote "No' on SB 395.
I am worried and I speak for many others that are also worried. We want to know how the MDEQ will let the Aquila Mine self-regulate their pollution. Who will over see that they do so properly and speedily? Will they test the waters daily? Will they then shut the mine down at once if their pollution exceeds the permitted level? Will they report it at once to the agencies needed to resolve the issue? Or will they, greedily, just continue mining until the issue is discovered by the MDEQ or other regulatory agencies? How can this issue continue to be ignored? Someone must oversee this.
I am also concerned and unhappy that the Menominee City Council hasn't looked into the mine issue to the point that they will put it on their agenda to vote on it. They have, month after month, just ignored this issue. They were supposed to review the facts and put it on this month's agenda, however that was not done. It is scandalous that they have not sent a resolution to the MDEQ, the governor, etc. that they are against this vastly dangerous mine as have many, many other councils and boards from other towns. We voted them into office and they are not representing the vast majority of the people in their jurisdiction that are not in favor of our water being polluted. The people and the businesses of this community need water that is safe, because if it is polluted to a certain point, the cities and businesses will have to move out of this area. Is this what we want? No more Marinette and Menominee? Do we want greedy, money-hungry people to decide our future?
People, call, write or email your representatives, the MDEQ and the federal government that has jurisdiction over boundry waters. All of you must do your part to protect our wonderful, natural land and water that we enjoy so much. Go online to get their contact information.
Whenever you're lonely, discouraged, or blue,
Always remember that "God Loves You"
and He is only a prayer away.
His prayer line is open, both night and day,
So whisper a little prayer "To Him".
He'll send you sunshine from within.
He'll give you strength, and courage, too,
To carry on, and see you through.
By Joyce Bedora
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