League of Conservation Voters Press Release on Mining Bill

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For immediate release: February 6, 2013

Contact: Anne Sayers, Program Director, 608-208-1129 (direct), 608-658-0186 (cell), [email protected]

Still Extreme, One-Sided and a Threat to Public Health
Open-Pit Mining Bill Moves Forward

Madison – Still containing provisions to harm water resources, public health, and public input opportunities, the Open-Pit Mining Bill (SB 1/AB 1) was voted out of the Assembly and Senate Mining Committees today. Amendments adopted to the bill fail to address the egregious environmental and public health protection rollbacks. 

“The amendments succeeded only in solidifying the Open-Pit Mining Bill as a flawed, extreme one-sided bill. It threatens our families with arsenic, lead and mercury and it is still strongly opposed by the citizens of Wisconsin,” said Anne Sayers, Program Director for Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

The amendments offered by Senator Tiffany and Representative Suder are without substance and in some cases are downright laughable. Take for instance the criteria DNR is instructed to use relating to impacts on public health, safety, and welfare. The original bill stated that DNR may issue a permit for a ferrous mine if "the proposed mining is not likely to result in substantial adverse impacts to public health, safety, and welfare" (AB 1/SB 1, page 135). The amendments modify that provision to require that the "proposed mining is reasonably certain not to result in substantial adverse impacts to public health, safety, or welfare: (WI Legislative Council Memo, page 4).

With the amendments as adopted, The Open-Pit Mining Bill still:

  • Allows waterways to be filled with mining waste.
  • Prevents citizens from having input on proposed mines.
  • Subjects our water to toxins like arsenic, lead, and mercury.
  • Allows mining companies to contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for 70% of Wisconsinites.
  • 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, as long as the company restores wetlands somewhere else in the ceded territories.

“The Open-Pit Mining Bill is a threat to our safe drinking water, flowing trout streams and tourism economy. We urge legislators to stand up for all that makes Wisconsin a great place to live, work and play and oppose the Open-Pit Mining Bill,” concluded Sayers.

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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] · www.conservationvoters.org