Wisconsin has a rich mining heritage. On the flag and coat of arms are representative symbols of its four main industries and mining is one of them. It also has two symbols below the coat of arms and one represents mining. The state animal, the badger, even represents mining because the miners were called badgers, yet now mining is seen as an environmental hazard rather than a boost to the economy.
The Flambeau mine near Ladysmith and the mine that created Lake Wazee near Black River Falls are recent examples of mining successes that left the environment not only intact, but better than they found it as is the case with Lake Wazee recreation area. The iron deposit being debated is shared with Minnesota and Michigan and they are boosting their economies because of it.
Senators Schultz (who runs as Republican but doesn’t share their values) and Jauch have presented an alternate bill to the one that passed the legislature and would work for everyone but the environmentalists. The major part of the legislation that is the most egregious part of the bill isn’t even about the environment, which they’re claiming to be protective of.
What Senators Schultz and Jauch want is for the mine to pay recycling fees. The DNR classifies mines similar to landfills and must pay recycling fees. Rocks are classified as waste products and would be charged $7 a ton every time they are moved. The bill that passed the legislature exempted the mine from those fees. Wisconsin would see $21.6 million a year in taxes from the mine. With the recycling fees, the mine would need to pay $200 million a year. There isn’t any way that would be feasible.
There is lots more in the bill that is conspicuously bad such as there is no set time line. It makes one wonder if this bill is meant to keep jobs out of Wisconsin until after the election. Think about it. If you can make the economy look bad, you can get your party back in office.
This is being done for political gain. Not for the the good of Wisconsin, and especially the people of the Northwoods.
Joyce Bant, Hazelhurst