I find it shocking that our Wisconsin legislators intentionally wrote and passed a mining bill that specifically allows for environmental damage. Sen. Tom Tiffany, an author of the bill, acknowledged that changes were made to the legislation to put the state on stronger legal ground. "The bill reflects the reality of mining. There are going to be some impacts to the environment above the iron ore body," said Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst. "If the law is challenged and ends up in court, the judge needs to know it was the Legislature's intent to allow adverse (environmental) impacts. That way, a judge can't find fault if the environment is impacted."
This of course is not included in the talking points that Gov. Scott Walker is using. Sen. Rob Cowles cast the deciding vote for this legislation in the Senate.
The bill forces mining permits to be issued even if it will endanger public health, safety, or welfare; states that groundwater contamination is acceptable; allows a mining company to take high volumes of water from rivers, lakes, and streams, even if it will draw down nearby waterways; allows mining companies to dump toxic mining waste into sensitive wetlands.