Statement of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Regarding Governor Walker’s Mining Remarks in the State of the State Address

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For immediate release: January 15, 2013
Contact: Anne Sayers, Program Director, 608-208-1129 (direct), 608-658-0186 (cell), anneatconservationvoters [dot] org

Statement of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
Regarding Governor Walker’s Mining Remarks in the State of the State Address

Governor Walker’s theatrics and fabricated job numbers don’t change the facts. His plan to rollback protections for Wisconsin’s air, water, and land to benefit a single out-of-state mining company threatens to contaminate our water with toxins like arsenic, lead, and mercury and cause irreparable damage to our tourism economy.

Wisconsin’s current laws balance the water needs of all water-dependent industries – agriculture, brewing, hunting, fishing, tourism and mining. As Governor Walker said tonight, 1 in 13 Wisconsin jobs are connected to the tourism industry. Our robust tourism economy is dependent on high-quality, plentiful natural resources. Tourism is the state’s second largest industry, generating almost $12.1 billion in travel expenditures and bringing in $6.72 billion in resident income in 2009. Placing a 5,000 acre pit in the midst of a prime natural area is only going to take jobs away from the almost 300,000 Wisconsinites currently employed in the tourism industry. 

There is a lot we can learn from the 41 states who currently rank above Wisconsin in job creation. They have committed to fostering a 21st century economy – extending the reach of broadband, investing in renewable energies like wind, solar, and biomass, and honoring the natural heritage that supports the hospitality, recreation, and sporting industries. Jeopardizing our fresh water resources does not put Wisconsin on the path to prosperity.

Let’s invest in northern Wisconsin in a meaningful way, rather than doing the bidding of one out-of-state company who wants to grow rich off of our resources. Let’s not stick residents and local governments of northern Wisconsin with the cost of cleaning up that company’s mess. Let’s not expose the citizens of northern Wisconsin to poisoned water and let’s not destroy the future of northern Wisconsin’s robust tourism economy.

Doing the bidding of an out-of-state mining company is easy. We call on Governor Walker and members of the Legislature to get to work on the much more difficult, but irrefutably more important task of representing the diverse, long-term interests of Wisconsin citizens.

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