Governor Walker, still enjoying his prolonged state of pre-indictment, has been making many sweeping claims these days, but none so forcefully as his two proudest points of alleged confidence:
- He is "confident" that he is not the subject of the John Doe investigation, and that it ends with the plea deal recently reached with his long-time aide Tim Russell. ("Pure conjecture," said the judge. "The case is still open." This is his "I'm not a crook" moment, say the rest of us.).
- He is "confident" that Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), the Cline Group-owned Florida firm seeking to extract iron from the Penokee Hills of Wisconsin, will return to the "open for business" table now that the Republican Senate majority has been restored. Who will be the "judge" on this claim? Will it be the people of Wisconsin, who continue to speak out against this plan? Or will it be Walker and his political cronies? Looks like it's time to speak up again, and people are taking out their pens.
"...turns out that there is no defined ore body in the Penokees, according to the lack of property taxes being paid. Maybe that’s why it appears that we need to rush Mr. Cline’s laws into legislation; the ore body can’t be missed when it was never there to begin with. If that’s the case, Governor, then may we please have your permission to go back down to code orange on the eco-terrorist threat scale now?"Read the full letter ("No Signs of Iron Ore Body Leaving Wisconsin") here. Seriously, read it. It's so good.
There's a hearing on mining regulations scheduled for this morning (Thurs. Nov. 29 at 10:30). Public comment, however, is always mandatory to the success of democracy and can be delivered any time. Send yours to:
Governor Scott Kevin Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Senate Committee on Mining:
Senator Tim Cullen, Chair, Sen.Cullen@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Robert Jauch, Sen.Jauch@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Jon Erpenbach, Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.govSenator Jim Holperin, Sen.Holperin@legis.wisconsin.govSenator John Lehman, email@example.comSenator Dale Schultz, Sen.Schultz@legis.wisconsin.govSenator Mary Lazich, Sen.firstname.lastname@example.orgSenator Robert Cowles, Sen.Cowles@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Chris Larson (Democratic Minority Leader) Sen.Larson@legis.wisconsin.gov
One very good question - raised by the ever-vigilant Rebecca Kemble - you might ask them is why Governor Walker's cronies and those with conflict of interest ties to the project are being trusted to assess the impact and feasibility of this mining when exhaustive analysis of these impacts have been published just this year (see the 2012 report: Sulfide Mining Regulation in the Great Lakes Region). As Kemble notes, "Why mining industry flack Tim Sullivan and their expensive PR campaign is given a privileged position in this discussion when there has already been an extensive analysis of mining laws in the Great Lakes region is very telling." The well-documented negative environmental impacts of the project, coupled with a relentless push to lower standards and cut corners on regulations, have been the bane of the efforts since day one.
While the mining project is promoted by Walker et al as a chance to bring much-needed "jobs" to the region, GTAC has been unable to demonstrate that a significant number of local jobs would actually be created, or that local economies would be positively impacted by the intrusion of mining initiatives. The evidence, in fact, seems to point to minimal job creation and even less economic stimulation, due in part to increasingly automated mining practices. Read more here on how mining creates fewer jobs than they want us to think.
|Click here for source of this lovely image and more on the struggle of local residents, including, most vocally, members of the Bad River Band (whose chair, Mike Wiggins, Jr., calls the Penokees "unmineable"), to stop efforts to mine the Penokee region. |
Click here to learn why the first attempt at a mining bill was defeated.