Viewpoint: Open letter regarding proposed Industrial Acid Mining bill
I am writing to you today to voice my concern over your proposed new Industrial Acid Mining bill. Specifically, I strongly oppose your proposal to change (undo) our state’s successful “prove it first” mining law. Your new bill sacrifices our water and public health for the benefit of out-of-state mining interests. There has never been a sulfide mine that has not polluted – there is no such thing as safe sulfide mining.
Why would you risk a $20 billion tourism industry that provides nearly 200,000 jobs by potentially polluting our beautiful waterways and lakes? How many jobs will sulfide mining bring to the state? Not many if you review the economic benefits from past sulfide mining ventures in Minnesota and the U.P. Acid mining will harm our environment while foreign companies profit.
I have heard you comment that sulfide mining is safe, and suggested that the shuttered Flambeau Mine has proven that the “prove it first” law is no longer necessary. But the facts point to a different outcome. Surface water runoff from the former mine site does not meet Wisconsin surface water quality standards. Runoff continues to pollute a stream which flows into the Flambeau River. Studies show that the stream is almost devoid of life, including vegetation, macro invertebrates, and fish. Is this the legacy you want to leave our children?
Why not use your considerable influence to promote clean energy jobs in our state? A recent study by CleanJobsMidwest.com reports that Wisconsin lags most other Midwestern states in the development of clean energy jobs. In Minnesota, the clean energy industry employees more than 54,000 workers, while Wisconsin can barely support 25,000 workers in similar jobs. Wisconsin, a state known for great manufacturing and a strong work ethic would benefit from more promotion of the benefits of clean energy from its state legislators.
Dave Noel, Sugar Camp