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.



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8 thoughts on “Tom Tiffany’s lump of coal Christmas

  1. I was fortunate to receive some really nice holiday gifts, but I didn’t like any of them nearly as much as your post.

  2. Holy shit John, that’s high praise coming from you!

    I think GTac Tommy’s bill is going to be the gift that keeps on giving in the coming year. The failure of Tiffany, Fitzgerald, Suder and Walker to protect Wisconsinites and our water, land and air from unscrupulous corporations and a CEO charged with environmental crimes is a huge story. When you add that they knowingly crafted a bill that collides with federal regulatory guidelines you have a stunning combination of both moral/ethical corruption and rank incompetence.

  3. I am glad that Wisconsin does have some of the most restrictive eviromental laws in the nation. Unfortunatley you and I need to have continued mining do be done somewhere. It might as well be in another state or country with less oversight. As for Wisconsin citizens, we can continue to create more government jobs to help process the Unemployment claims.

  4. quadruple ouches!!!! because people are beginning to pay attention to the goings on in WI. Cathe Stepp should not be trusted to take out the garbage. She allowed a “honey dipper” to spread 400% of the allowable amount of excrement on a farmers field jeopardizing 40 wells in the area with just a “slap on the wrist” possibly because they were good campaign contributors???? Wolf hunt when MN has 3,000 we had 800…HOUNDERS fighting their dogs in the woods with WOLVES???? This isn’t the WI I came to know and love as a kid. All this since Gov. Walker has been in office, not to mention the demonizing of our educators…shame on WI, WALKER, TIFFANY, Stepp, WDNR

  5. “. . . 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.”

    Judgement and intelligence as applied to the merits of the legislation itself had nothing to do with how those Republicans voted. I think it unlikely any of them actually bothered to read the bill before voting on it. The real failures of judgement and intelligence occurred when those legislators took office knowing they intended to represent ALEC and the corporate interests for which it fronts, and not the interests of their citizen constituents. It is that at which we should be appalled.

  6. “Captain Tom” Tiffany is the former owner of the river boat cruise business that took advantage of both environmental protection and government clean up of the Willow Flowage and Wisconsin River. He’s also been associated with Americans for Prosperity from inception. Total tool.

  7. About that iron in them hills; it’s headed to China. We actually have plenty, and if you want to see some, look at the abandoned cars and equipment laying all over the place. The removal and export of natural resources, and importation of finished products, is the classic definition of colonialism. Globalism is the new imperialism and the low hanging fruit to be plucked is us. We can do better filling our needs for jobs, energy, and manufacturing by looking towards renewables and sustainable development.

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