Your Views: Wisconsin must permit local control over mining interests

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Mining is different from manufacturing. If we try to regulate too much in terms of wages and environment, factories can just move to China. That is not true of iron or frac sand mining. The mining companies have to dig it where it is, and mine by whatever rules Wisconsin sets. They might dig an iron mine somewhere else today, but then the ore will still be here in 20 years, and Wisconsin people will still want jobs then.

We need to pay attention to frac sand mining now, or Wisconsin will get the Appalachia treatment. Just as sections of the Appalachians were dug for coal, ruined for everything else, and the people made poorer than before, so the Mississippi bluff area is getting treated by the frac sand companies. People in Bagley, Wis., have reported stinging eyes and dying pets just from the dust of a mine across the river in Iowa. Ore trucks are pulverizing country roads. When the sand is gone, Wisconsin will be left with the bills, but the bluffs will be gone, too.

Wisconsin can be open for business without being open for pillage. It would be better if the state required responsible mining, but for now we need to allow the affected communities to make some of their own choices. Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, will reintroduce his bill next year to bar local governments from regulating mines. Make sure your representatives vote against it.



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