Al Jazeera America’s Fault Lines presents: “Wisconsin’s Mining Standoff”

On Saturday, June 14, Al Jazeera America’s award-winning investigative documentary program “Fault Lines” will travel to Wisconsin to delve into the Battle over Wisconsin’s natural resources between corporate interests and citizens intent on preserving the environment. Here’s more about the show.

“Fault Lines” correspondent Josh Rushing travels to the farthest reaches of northern Wisconsin, 200 miles from the nearest major city. It’s a pristine landscape but underneath the natural beauty lies a coveted resource: two billion tons of iron ore.

In February 2013, the state senate passed a bill that loosened restrictions on iron mining, reversing 15 years of environmental regulation. The bill paves the way for West Virginia-based Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) to dig a $1.5 billion mine in the woods of the Penokee mountain range. “Fault Lines” follows the money that was crucial in getting the bill passed.

In this special edition of “Fault Lines,” we meet the players at the heart of the stand-off, visiting a century old family-owned dairy farm that could be impacted by the mine. We hike deep in the woods in the harshest of winters to spend time with the Chippewa tribes who have set up an education and resistance camp to oppose the mine. The Bad River Chippewa tribe, who have lived in the region for generations, raise concerns that acid mine drainage would contaminate the water, fish and wild rice on which they depend. And we meet Leslie Kolesar, Chairwoman of the Iron County Mining Impact Committee, who tells “Fault Lines” the mine would bring 700 desperately needed jobs to a region with high unemployment.

“Fault Lines” talks to Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch, who opposes this mining project and tells us how GTAC has ignored its critics. We also talk to Bob Seitz, Director of External Affairs for GTAC, who denies allegations that the company had a hand in writing mining legislation and defends the company’s record of environmental and safety violations.

It’s an unfolding battle in a pristine wilderness where a tiny county board election attracts money from outsiders like the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity. This is a story about money and power versus environmental concerns and a way of life for thousands of local residents. It’s a story ultimately about the state of our democracy.

“Fault Lines” will air on Saturday, June 14th at 7pm Eastern Time on the Al Jazeera Network, which is channel 376 for those of you who get Time Warner Cable.


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