We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

MINING in WISCONSIN update - Sen. Cullen on WCLO this morning.

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John Eyster
Thursday, January 31, 2013

MINING in WISCONSIN update - ALERT: Sen. Cullen is scheduled to be on "YOUR TALK SHOW" on WCLO (1230 AM) at 10 am today. I assume that this will be a good chance for WE THE PEOPLE of the 15th State Senate District to ask Sen. Cullen more about the mining legislation. What do YOU want to ask?

Since posting my discussion of MINING in WI, “Let’s bring mining back to Wisconsin - I agree. But, HOW?”

I have read the comments with interest. You already know that I do NOT agree with some of the comments, but like an on-going CIVIL DISCUSSION. I am MOST concerned when comments fail to be within the range of CIVIL. Please, when you write a comment, consider whether YOU would post that comment IF your real identity were required. I wish that ALL COMMENTS had to have REAL IDENTITY! What do YOU think?

As I have continued to research the issues related to bringing mining back into Wisconsin, I have learned more… let me first alert readers to the fact that WI State Senator Robert Jauch (D-25th State Senate District) from Poplar, WI will be holding a listening session with State Rep. Janet Bewley (D-74th State Assembly District) from Ashland on Friday & Saturday, Feb. 8 and 9 in the area for the proposed mine in northern WI.

If you want to read details, use this link, "Jauch and Bewley Announce Northern Listening Session on Mining Bills."

Sen. Jauch notes that the GOP committees have NOT held any hearings in northern WI this year. Sen. Jauch stated, “The committee chairs could have held a hearing somewhere in central Wisconsin to make it equally accessible for citizens from around the state to attend, but they didn’t. Someone living in Ashland or Iron Counties had to drive 11 hours round trip for the chance to offer two minutes in testimony on a bill that will directly impact their community. Instead they chose to make the hearing convenient for their friends in Southeastern Wisconsin, going so far as to reserve a room for the conservative political group Americans For Prosperity to work from during the hearing, a reservation that was placed a full 3 days before the committee chairs announced the hearing to the public.”

The press release from Sen. Jauch’s office states, “The event will be open to the public and all legislators are invited to attend. Senator Cullen, Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), and Representative Nick Milroy (D-Superior) have already indicated they will participate and Jauch expects more legislators to announce plans to join them in the coming days.” I am glad that our Senator Tim Cullen plans to participate since he is the author of an alternative bill for mining in WI.

I have confirmed my conviction that Sen. TIM CULLEN (D-15th State Senate District) did hold hearing when he was chair of the Senate committee while the DEMS were the majority of our WI State Senate. Let’s review the dates and the wide-range of witnesses invited to those hearings: Here’s a full breakdown of the hearings:

Tuesday, September 18 - Dr. Tom Evans, WI Geological Survey; Ann Coakley, WI Department of Natural Resources and Rebecca Graser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Thursday, September 20 - Dave Boetcher, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; James Buchen and Scott Manley, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Tuesday, September 25 - Steve Donohue, Wisconsin Mining Association; Jennifer Giegerich, WI League of Conservation Voters and Amber Meyer-Smith, Clean Wisconsin, Inc..

Thursday, November 29 - Rick Stadelman, Wisconsin Towns Association; Jeff Beirl, Ashland County Administrator; Arlen Albrecht, Community Resource Development Agent for Taylor County UW-Extension; Tim Sullivan and Steve Donohue, Wisconsin Mining Association and George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Would someone please explain to me how the GOP proponents of their mining bill can claim with HONESTY that the bill does NOT change Wisconsin’s environmental quality standards? There are changes.

In fact, it is NOW reported that by Lee Bergquist of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the mining firm that wants to build a mine in northern WI, Gogebic Taconite directly requested CHANGES in WI environmental laws. I urge you to read the article, “Mining firm Gogebic Taconite has role in drafting bill.” What do YOU think?

The article reports, “Gogebic Taconite, which had an initial hand in writing a controversial mining bill now before legislators, continues to play a key role in writing the latest draft of the bill.

“Drafting records from the Legislature show that the company sought changes in areas that have come under attack from Democrats and environmentalists.

“The company was making suggestions on language before the bill was released on Jan. 16.

"Gogebic wants modifications in several areas, including changes to state law involving wetlands, navigable waters and groundwater.”

I do NOT want to see the changes in WI state law involving wetlands, navigable waters and groundwater. Do YOU?

As of NOW, the Assembly committee is planning to vote on the GOP bill next Wednesday, February 6, 2013. Here we go again… the GOP does NOT want to consider WE THE PEOPLE of WISCONSIN…

I cited Lee Bergguist and Patrick Marley’s informative article published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and suggest you may want to read or re-read it. You can use this link for that article, “Democrat’s mining bill would preserve existing environmental regulations.”

There is also Ron Seely’s article in the Wisconsin State Journal also published on Tuesday, 1/22, “Democrat Cullen counters GOP bill with alternative mining proposal.”

I noted in my blog post on Sunday, January 27 that the key point spotlighted by Seeley in his article was, “While both bills would give the state Department of Natural Resources a deadline for acting on a mine permit application, the proposals differ substantially in the amount of time given the agency, in the extent of change to environmental protections and in how much money would go to communities affected by mining.” Where do we go from here? Will the GOP again try to ram its mining bill through the legislature? I hope not. What do YOU hope?

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 9:24 am Monday, April 29, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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