Editor: Rep. Spiros is off to a poor start. At the campaign forums he claimed that he could be effective at addressing the polarization and divisiveness in politics. These claims were belied by his vote on March 7 for SB1, the mining bill, the most polarizing, divisive bill likely to come to a vote this session.
The bill opens up one of the most pristine natural areas of our state to one of the most concentrated and environmentally destructive events to happen in our state in modern times. The bill declares war on irreplaceable and to many, sacred resources that are threatened to be deforested, subjected to a gigantic open pit mine, with those resources invaluable to hunting, fishing, wildlife and humans to be subjected to the usury ethics of a corporation now facing legal action for mining violations in Illinois.
The bill, SB1 only had one public hearing in Madison and the proponents like Sen. Tom Tiffany, and Rep. Scott Suder and Rep. John Spiros seemed terrified of the thought of a hearing being held in northern Wisconsin and now faced with infrastructure and social impacts if a mine is built.
The majority of Wisconsinites opposed the controversial bill. The bill allows mining waste to be dumped into sensitive wetlands, floodplains and shorelands, allows lake beds to be filled as opposed to current law, doubles the distance from a mine site in which groundwater pollution is legal, and the bill obstructs resource professionals from protecting our air and water.
Every Republican legislator I talked to parroted the same talking point, "Magnets will remove the ore" as if that solved the problem of the waste rock containing heavy metals, sulfides, etc., left exposed to the elements. Our state should not be taken by the legislators to be sold to the highest campaign donor.