Every once in a while there are stories that, with all of the craziness, gets overlooked. While Steve has done a great job of writing about this, I and others have not given this important issue the attention it deserves. Instead of “re-inventing the wheel” I will just point people in the right direction.
One of the best stories on this mining legislation comes from Root River Siren(excellent blog by the way) where the siren breaks down the mining legislation in intimate detail:
So what do you need to know about the bill? Plenty…
~Circumvents DNR rulemaking process over ferrous mining permit regulations.
~If there is a conflict between a provision of the iron mining laws and a provision in another state environmental law, the provision in the iron mining law controls.
~Removes the requirement for an applicant to file a notice of intent (and the associated public notice). The current requirement is for a person who intends to apply for a permit for mining for metallic ore to notify DNR before collecting data intended to be used to support the application.
~An application no longer requires a risk assessment of accidental health and environmental hazards.
~An application no longer requires a demonstration that runoff from the mining site will be managed so as to prevent soil erosion to the extent practicable, flooding, damage to ag land or livestock, damage to wild animals, pollution of ground or surface waters, damage to public health, and threats to public safety. (Compliance with construction site erosion control presumes compliance with this requirement)
~This bill removes important protections for streams or lake beds.
Current law provides that activities expected to cause landslides or substantial deposition in stream or lake beds that cannot be feasibly prevented, or the destruction or filling in of a lake bed constitute grounds for denial of a permit. This bill removes these as bases for denial of the permit.
Secondly there is Scott from Badger Democracy(another great blog) delved into it and found some surprising results(ok they are not a surprise):
The Mining Bill released by Assembly Republicans late last week is clearly a case of Legislative patronage to a corporate sponsor – in this case, Gogebic Taconite Mining, LLC. Not surprising, but more disturbing, are the covert links to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Koch Industries, and closer to home, Hamilton Consulting in Madison. All three have created an expressway of influence to Wisconsin Legislation for co-opting state resources – creating record profits for themselves (which they will ultimately pay little tax on) and untold burdens on middle class taxpayers and the environment.
Finally to get a different perspective, Our next US Senator (that makes me laugh also) Jeff Fitzgerald abruptly ran out of a press conference when being asked to defend this legislation. There is a reason they “fast track” legislation!