LCV release on today's mining hearing

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For immediate release: January 23, 2013

Contact: Kerry Schumann, Executive Director, (608) 208-1123 direct,
(608) 358-4040 cell, [email protected]

Hundreds of Citizens Fill the Capitol Opposing the Open-Pit Mining Bill

Madison – Today, hundreds of Wisconsin citizens are flooding the Wisconsin State Capitol to oppose the Open-Pit Mining Bill (SB 1/AB 1). Despite the short notice given for the only hearing on this highly controversial legislation, citizens from every corner of the state have made their way to Madison to voice their concerns about the bill. Fifty-six residents even made a seven-hour trip from Ashland this morning on a bus chartered by Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

“The fact that 56 people are willing to sit on a bus for 7 hours – each way – to attend a 12 hour hearing demonstrates just how negatively the citizens of northern Wisconsin will be impacted by this devastating mining bill. If bill proponents are holding the only hearing in Madison to make sure the voices of the north aren’t heard – it’s not working,” said Stacy Craig, an Ashland resident and board member of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Institute.

Despite repeated claims by bill authors at the press conference that the bill does not weaken environmental standards, it absolutely does.  For example, SB 1/AB 1:

  • Forces the state of Wisconsin to issue a mining permit even if they know it will endanger public health, safety or welfare (Page 135).
  • Explicitly states that groundwater contamination by a mining company is acceptable (Page 189).
  • States that the DNR can allow a mining company to take high volumes of water from rivers and lakes and streams that are not located within their property or immediately next to it, even if it will draw down rivers, lakes, and streams (Page 161).
  • Allows mining companies to dump toxic mining waste into sensitive wetlands that protect local communities from flooding and water pollution, as long as the company restores wetlands anywhere else in the ceded territories – an area that spans 1/3 of the state (Page 55).

“The Open-Pit Mining Bill contains rollback after rollback of the protections that are meant to safeguard not just our water and public input opportunities, but our very way of life. Citizens made the  long trip to Madison today to make sure legislators are crystal clear about that fact,” said Kerry Schumann, Executive Director of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

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Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin's public health and natural resources.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
133 S. Butler Street #320 · Madison, WI 53703 · (608) 661-0845 · Fax (608) 661-0835
1642 Western Avenue · Green Bay, WI 54303 · (920) 429-9008
633 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202 · (414) 921-0084
[email protected] ·