Tom Tiffany wins ” Lie of the Week “

Hurley blogger and former Iron County district attorney Tony Stella has awarded tantrumesque Tom Tiffany his ” Lie of the Week ” designation for poor Tommy’s whiny insistence that the Environmental Protection Agency killed GTac’s always questionable and unlikely open pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills.

Missing from Tiffany’s weepy lamentations is the fact that iron ore prices have plummeted over the last year and show no signs of bouncing back. You can read all about it by scrolling through Stella’s blog ” Stella Report “, which has covered the mine story more thoroughly and accurately than any other source over the last couple of years.

Did State Sen. Tom Tiffany discuss pending legislation with anyone on the WI Supreme Court?

During a session of the State Senate on January 20, 2015, Democratic State Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Republican State Sen. Tom Tiffany had an exchange (Which can be seen on in which Sen.Tiffany avoids answering a direct question as to whether or not he had discussed with any member of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin Senate Bill SJR2, which would change how the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin is chosen from a statewide election to selection by the other members of the court.

In response to that question, citizen Pam Kobelius sent an email to Sen. Tiffany on the matter, but her email went unanswered. As a result of Sen. Tiffany’s failure to respond, Kobelius has submitted an open records request asking that any communications between Sen. Tiffany and any members of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin be disclosed, as any such communications may violate state law.

Here’s a copy of the open records request.

Open Records Request submitted to State Sen. Tom Tiffany

It will be interesting to see if and when Sen. Tiffany’s office chooses to respond to the open records request.

Gogebic Taconite president Bill Williams will stand trial in Spain

It was reported late last year that Gogebic Taconite president Bill Williams had lost his last appeal to have charges of environmental destruction dismissed, though it was unclear then that Spanish officials would follow through with an indictment. It’s clear now.

Former Iron County district attorney Tony Stella has the details.

While I realize that the John Doe emails are the focus of everyone’s attention right now, Bill Williams plight should also be front and center of every major media outlet in Wisconsin. The saga of Act 1, the ferrous mining law written specifically for GTac, is a case study in both crony capitalism and piss poor legislating.

Way to go, Tom Tiffany.


Not a good week for Walker, Tiffany and GTAC.

Just when you thought the week couldn’t get any worse for Scott Walker, Tom Tiffany and Gogebic Taconite, it just got a whole lot worse.

First it was the story on Monday about the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, headed by former DNR secretary and Tommy Thompson appointee George Meyer, calling for a repeal of Act1, the ferrous mining law written specifically for ( and by ? ) Gogebic Taconite. The call for repeal resulted from a letter from the Army Corps of Engineers to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources stating that the bills expedited timeline was unworkable with the Feds, which was something every republican who voted for it was warned about well in advance. The bill was signed into law anyway and was touted by Governor Walker  as a major jobs bill that would boost Wisconsin’s economy. Ruh Roh!

The very next day State Senators Bob Jauch, Tim Cullen and Dale Schultz circulated a letter amongst their colleagues in the legislature patiently explaining to them that the bill as it is would actually slow whatever job creation it was intended to engender, and called for Act 1 to be brought back to the legislature for review. Ouch! That’s gotta hurt! But it gets even better, or worse, depending on your point of view.

Just today the two largest newspapers in Wisconsin have weighed into the fray. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board, previously a champion of the mining law overhaul, is echoing the Jauch/Cullen/Schultz call for a legislative review of Act 1. Damn!

And the Wisconsin State Journal has a story on a preliminary DNR report suggesting that an open pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills could pose a threat to health and human safety. Son-of-a ……………..!

Of course, all of this comes on the heels of news last month that Gogebic Taconite president Bill Williams may have to face trial in Spain for failing to protect an aquifer from arsenic contamination using the same engineering technology he spouted off about to concerned citizens of the northland.   Double Ruh Roh!

Less than a year ago Scott Walker spoke at his annual State of the State address touting what would become Act 1 as a major job creating bill for the state of Wisconsin. Less than a year ago. Now it’s a legislative disaster of the first order. And Cathy Stepp’s DNR is suggesting that an open pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills could be a disaster as well.

It’s tough to overstate the sheer incompetence, ideological blindness, and political/corporate driven chicanery that all of this implies concerning Walker, GTAC and the GOP controlled legislature.

But I hope that all of you reading this post will attempt to do so in a letter to your local newspaper.

Ashland County board supervisors broaden call for repeal of Act 1.

A pair of northern Wisconsin elected officials, Ashland County board chairman Pete Russo and board supervisor Charles Ortman, took their case for a repeal of Act 1 to the airwaves on WOJB community radio on New Year’s Day. Russo and Ortman first called for a repeal of the new ferrous mining law, (passed by the Walker controlled legislature to grease the skids for an open pit iron mine in the Penokee Hills), on December 7th in an op-ed in the Ashland Daily Press.

Now echoing the Russo/Ortman call for repeal is the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation headed by former Department of Natural Resources secretary George Meyer, as reported yesterday by the Wisconsin State Journal.  

Less than a year after its passage what was most certainly intended to be one of the signature and so called “job creating” legislative achievements of the Walker administration, Act 1, is a shambles. It’s a turd of a bill. Almost nobody likes it. Not the Feds, not the Chippewa Federation, not the residents of Ashland and Iron counties, not most of their elected officials, almost no one.

So contact your assembly rep or state senator and tell him or her to introduce legislation to overturn the ferrous mining law. Write a letter to your local newspaper calling for a repeal of the bill. Spread the word on social media far and wide.

Repeal Act 1.

Tom Tiffany’s lump of coal Christmas

GOP State Senator Tom Tiffany, alleged author and prime mover of Wisconsin’s new ferrous mining law, had a pretty bad Christmas.

First it was the news that Gogebic Taconite president Bill Williams may be facing trial in Spain on charges of criminal damage to the environment. It seems that the same technology Williams claimed would safeguard the Bad River watershed and Lake Superior failed to protect an aquifer near Seville, Spain, from arsenic contamination resulting from a copper mine Williams oversaw. It also seems that Williams likely knew his ass could end up in a Spanish sling even as he was touting the new technology to northern Wisconsin residents. Ouch!

And now the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received a letter from the US Army Corps of Engineers stating that the Corps has declined to work with the WDNR on a joint environmental impact statement regarding the proposed open pit mine in northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills. Former DNR secretary George Meyer, currently Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, says the discrepancies between Wisconsin’s timeline and the Corps’ requirements could add up to five years or more to the permitting process and could result in more lengthy litigation, which would no doubt push the project back even further. Double ouch, Tommy!

Williams legal troubles alone were enough to prompt Ashland County board chair Pete Russo and board supervisor Charles Ortman to pen an op-ed for the Ashland Daily Press calling for a repeal of the ferrous mining law, arguing that if the public had known that Williams was not telling the truth about the efficacy of new engineering technology in protecting water quality the bill wouldn’t have passed. They’re probably right.

To top it off, a recent survey conducted by researchers from UW Superior showed that most respondents in Ashland and Iron Counties are opposed to open pit mining in the Penokee Hills, as are Wisconsin’s northern Ojibwe tribes, who have written a joint letter to President Obama asking him to instruct the Department of the Interior to prepare litigation to stop the mine. Ouch, ouch and ouch again.

At this point people all over Wisconsin should be appalled at the judgment and intelligence of every single republican who either championed this bill or voted for it. They were warned that the bills expedited timeline most likely wouldn’t square with the feds, and if anti-mine activists can do the bit of necessary legwork to discover Bill Williams disastrous problems in Spain surely someone in the GOP could have done so as well. Instead they threw due diligence out the window and, metaphorically, let a burglar in through the front door of the house.

The answer at this point is for the DNR to put a halt to any further activity by Gogebic Taconite in the Penokee Hills, and for the ferrous mining law to be brought back to the legislature for either amendment or outright repeal.

Merry Christmas, Senator Tiffany.


Iron County board refers LCO Harvest Camp matter back to forestry committee

The Iron County board decided last night to table a vote on recommendations from their forestry committee to evict LCO tribal members and their allies from the Harvest and Education Camp located at the edge of Gogebic Taconite’s proposed mine site.  The board referred the issue back to the Forestry Committee, which voted unanimously at its last meeting to press criminal and civil charges against organizers of the camp. The committee meets again on August 13th.

In the meantime, GOP prosecutor wannabe Tom Tiffany ( R-GTAC) must be livid this morning, having recently sent a letter to Iron County  declaring the camp ” illegal” and it’s occupants ” squatters “.    Tiffany appears to be the only GOP legislator to date who is so thoroughly unfamiliar with the tribes treaty rights that he’s willing to shoot off his mouth so embarrassingly to the press.

I wonder what he’ll be having for breakfast this morning?


Best laugh of the week

GOP State Sen. Tom Tiffany must have gotten up one morning and promptly had himself a half pound of dumbass for breakfast.

How else to explain his recent remarks regarding the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest & Education Camp located next to Gogebic Taconite’s proposed iron mine site in the Penokee Hills? From the report:

From what I’ve heard — I haven’t been there — there’s environmental damage being done with them building roads and trails. They’re interfering with other people’s ability to use the forest,” Tiffany said. “They’re destroying the very environment they claim they want to preserve.”

Tiffany hasn’t been to the camp but he’s been told things. By whom? Who’s your source, Tom, Bill Williams?

A dozen or so tribal members and their friends making camp in the woods are destroying the very environment they want to preserve? But what could become the largest open pit iron mine in the world is just fine? You just cannot make this stuff up.

Some advice, Senator Tiffany: the next time you’re mulling over what to have for breakfast, try the bacon and eggs.

PS. Full disclosure: my wife Shelly and I have been to the LCO Harvest & Education camp, have observed nothing even remotely like what Tiffany describes,  and are financial/material supporters of the camp.  We strongly recommend that you support the camp too.