Editorial: More Citizens Demand Repeal of Wisconsin Mining Law

December 20, 2013 by WCMC guest

The following letter appeared in papers around the state, with over 100 signatures from elected officials, business owners and residents, and came from Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and throughout Wisconsin. Please leave your name and location in the comment section below if you agree.

Dear Editor
The Tyler Forks River with Carolyn Lake and the headwaters of the Bad River. This land is sacred ground for the Anishinaabeg, and provides the fresh water for the entire area. The mine will go directly in its path.

The Tyler Forks River with Carolyn Lake and the headwaters of the Bad River. This land is sacred ground for the Anishinaabeg, and provides the fresh water for the entire area. The mine will go directly in its path. Photo: Larry Kinnett

According to Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Wisconsin mining and environmental laws under Governor Walker’s watch have been written by Gogebic Taconite. GTac is proposing a 22-mile open pit taconite mine in the Penokee hills of Northern Wisconsin.

Given the irreparable damage that a taconite mine would do to the Penokee/Bad River watershed, which provides pure drinking water for thousands of people, and nourishes the wild rice of the Kakagon Sloughs, the public needs to know the kind of person who is behind this scheme.

According to the December 15, 2013 article by Wisconsin Citizens Media Coop (WCMC), legal action is pending against GTac’s President, Bill Williams, for causing arsenic contamination in the groundwater while overseeing the Cobre Las Cruces (CLC) mine in Seville, Spain. Williams started work as Director of Cobre Las Cruces in January 2006, and seven months later, began extracting clean water and re-injecting wastewater back into the aquifer without the inspection certificate for the project (one of many violations).

One result of the unauthorized operation was contamination of a local aquifer with arsenic-tainted water, including flooding wells at a nearby farm. Similar contamination (and loss of well water altogether) is anticipated for farmers and residents of Northern Wisconsin, should GTac prevail.

Williams left Spain in 2010 to begin work for GTac and according to their now defunct website, he “managed all facets of the Cobre Las Cruces mining operation …” In July 2011, at a presentation in Ashland, he referred to CLC as a successful example of mining. While claiming that new (still-not-revealed) technology would save the Bad River Watershed from the negative impacts of mountaintop removal, he was fully aware of the  impending legal action against him for severe environmental damage.

Williams has exhausted three appeals in Spain and according to Ecologistas en Acción, is expected to be served by the courts as soon as the trial date is set.

Williams misled Wisconsin by failing to disclose the circumstances at CLC and lied by saying that CLC was a success. Along with lobbyists Bob Seitz and Tim Myers, GTac denies verifiable scientific evidence; discredits experts who warn of environmental disaster; hired an illegal (un-permitted) paramilitary to frighten citizens legally accessing managed forest land; and has bought off legislators in order to pass mining laws written by the company itself. Bill Williams and GTac have demonstrated criminal intentions and should not be allowed in the state.

We are hopeful that the people of Wisconsin care enough about their water and land that they will take action to repeal mining laws that have been put in place by what can only be termed eco-terrorists. For detailed background on this story, please access: http://wcmcoop.com.

Sincerely yours,
Larry MacDonald, Mayor of Bayfield, WI
Scott Griffiths, Mayor of Washburn, WI
Maureen and Mike Matusewic, Iron County, WI
Ted Gephart, business owner, Bayfield, WI
Gail Lemieux, Odanah, WI
Sally Kessler, Cornucopia, WI
Lynn Treadwell, West St Paul, MN
Dr. Lynn Carey, Germantown, WI
Cheryl and Ed Willett, business owners, Highbridge WI
Barbara With, journalist, Madeline Island, WI
Mary Rehwald, Ashland, WI
Mike and Jo Bailey, Bayfield, WI
Allie Raven, candidate for Bayfield County Board, Delta, WI
Ros Nelson, business owner, Town of Washburn WI
Kristy Jensch, business owner, Washburn, WI
Paul DeMain, Reserve, WI
Irene Blakeley, business owner, Washburn, WI
Mary Dougherty, Bayfield, WI
Bonnie Bergman, business owner, Marengo Lake, WI
Michelle Heglund, teacher, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School, Mellen, WI
Teresa J. Wagner, City of Washburn, WI
Gena Gephart, Bayfield, WI
Cherie Pero, Odanah, WI
Henry C. Cole, Washburn, WI
Donna and Rob Ganson, Town of Washburn, WI
Bobbi Rongstad, Gurney, WI
John M. Stewart, Ph.D., Northland College Professor Emeritus & Director Wolf Research Team, Washburn WI
Warren Anderson, Washburn, WI
Lynn Maday, Odanah, WI
Brian Kearney, Mellen, WI
Nick Vander Puy, journalist, Iron County, WI
Cassie McCrow, Lac du Flambeau, WI
Tracy Chipman, writer, Town of Washburn, WI
Ali Gephart, Bayfield, WI
Christopher LaForge, owner: Great Northern Solar, Port Wing, WI
Amy Kalmon, business owner, Ashland, WI
Suzan MacKenzie-Smith, business owner: Designer’s Outlet, Ashland, WI
Kathy Tenney, artist, Ashland, WI
Joseph Skulan, Lodi, WI
Cathy Miller, Brule, WI
Bernie Winter, Brule, WI
Dr. Steve Birchall, Monona, WI
Steve Fiene, Madison, WI
John and Barbara McFarland, Manitowish Waters, WI
Kate Nolan, Monona, WI
Jon Gould, Naperville, IL & LaPointe, WI
Bob Gifford, Wisc. Green Party sustainer, Stevens Point, WI
Deb Lewis, Ashland, WI
Lori Liddell, Tomah, WI
Leonore Neumann, Tripoli, WI
Patricia M. Stewart, Town of Mason, WI
Marcie  Gephart, Bayfield, WI
Jayne Hogfeldt RN, Poplar, WI
John  Endrizzi,  Nekoosa, WI
Mary Gardner, business owner, Bayfield, WI
Amy Wilson, Port Wing, WI
Susan Hall, Town of Washburn, WI
Martha Cole, retired educator, Washburn, WI
Sharon Stewart, Washburn, WI
Tom Galazen, farm business owner, Town of Bayfield, WI
RIchard Knopf  Pepin, WI
Elizabeth Bader, Marengo, WI
Jordan Grunow, Marengo, WI
Howard D. Paap, Bayfield, WI
Ashleigh Koenigs, Milwaukee, WI
Marjean Moore, Pardeeville, WI
Jenny Gourdoux Newell, Oshkosh, WI
Kathy Waldo Browning, Lake Ann, MI
Gene Lemmenes, Herbster, WI
Marla Henseler, Webster, WI
Betsy Wilcox, Madison WI
Rose Lynd, Tomahawk, WI
Jim Sommerville, Milwaukee, WI
Dr. Paula Mohan, Lecturer, Madison, WI
Sibley Stonehorse, Odanah, WI
James Patterson, La Pointe Town Supervisor, La Pointe, WI
Bruce Noble, Madison, WI
Jim Brennan, Lake Galilee,WI
Jim Radtke, Bayfield, WI
Marco Good, Grand Marais, MN
Bernie Schlafke, Madison, WI
Jeannie Endrizzi, Nekoosa, WI
Nicholas Nelson, La Pointe Town Board, La Pointe, WI
Melanie Stricker, Mellen, WI
Marika Bader-Grunow, Marengo, WI
Nancy Foudray, Viola, WI
Sue Decker, Eau Claire, WI
Sally Lacy, Germantown, WI
Julie Cuccia-Watts, Watertown, WI
Diane Marie, La Pointe, WI
Debra Topping, Cloquet, MN
Greggory Jennings, Ashland, WI
Hattie Greylord, Neenah, WI
Norma Bader, Marengo,WI & Peoria Hts., IL
Susan Crane Brantwood, WI
Debbie Reinertson, Saxon, Iron County, WI
Wayne Toske, Mukwonago, WI
Connie Flonnes, Trego, WI
Mary Jo Walters, Madison, WI
Martin Curry, Town Board Supervisor, La Pointe, WI
Teresa Albrecht, Amherst, WI
Melanie Weberg, Osceola, WI
Cathy Miller, Brule, WI
Jeanne Johnson,  Stevens Point, WI
Mary Lee Maki  Little Chute, WI
Barb Arnst New Richmond, WI
Justus Grunow, Ashland, WI
Mark Hanson, Cambridge, WI
Steve Sohn, Mellen, WI
Jane Hudalla, Osceola, WI
Gene Cichon, Ashland, WI
Linda Accola Atkins, Prairie du Sac, WI
Brenda Burns RN BSN, Fond du Lac, WI
Pat Nash, Baraboo, WI
Greg Lindquist, Highbridge, WI
V. J. Link, tax-paying Wisconsinite, Madison, WI
Erik Schyvinck, Stevens Point, WI
Marsha and Gary Beggs Brown, Kewaunee, WI
Pam Fischer RN, Green Bay, WI
Nancy Tabake-Stencil, Wausau WI

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63 Comments on “Editorial: More Citizens Demand Repeal of Wisconsin Mining Law”

  1. Pat Miller January 7, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    Patrick MIller, Neenah WI

  2. Cindy Schave January 7, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Cindy Schave, Platteville, WI

  3. Mark Fuller January 7, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    Mark Fuller, Janesville, WI

  4. Sarah Nevins January 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Sarah Nevins, Bayfield, WI

  5. Pat Juett January 7, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Pat Juett, Washburn, WI

  6. James Nevins January 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    James Nevins, Bayfield, WI

  7. Janet LaBrie January 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Janet LaBrie, January 7, 2014

  8. godisgood January 7, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Linda Fowler, Watersmeet, Michigan

  9. Patricia K Hammel JD January 8, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    The so-called “ferrous mining bill” SB/AB 1 was premised on fake science, never had any real support among Wisconsin citizens, and has opened the door to an incompetent out of state hillbilly mining operation and its criminally negligent CEO Bill Williams. He fooled the Spanish authorities but we don’t have the excuse of ignorance. There’s no justification for putting the Bad River and people of Lake Superior at risk from this rotten legislation. Repeal the exemptions from our mining law for Gogebic Taconite.

  10. Trevor Cordes January 28, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Trevor Cordes, La Crosse, Wisconsin

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