Support for Mining Legislation Shot Down in Bayfield County

By KBJR News 1

January 30, 2013 Updated Jan 30, 2013 at 11:42 PM CDT

Washburn, WI (NNCNOW.com) - A crowd gathered at the County Court House in Washburn Tuesday night to speak out against proposed mining legislation.

"If there is any state in America that can move forward with the process to streamline safe and environmentally sound mining certainly is should be the badger state," said Wis. Gov. Scott Walker at a press conference days after his State of the State address.

While some law makers are quick to point to mining as a solution to many of Wisconsin's economic problems, many living in the region where the mine would be, share a different opinion.

"We don't want our mother earth just, tore up anymore," said one of the protesters.

The Bayfield County Board listened to a number of community members speak out against mining in at their Tuesday meeting.

"You elected board members have an obligation to help us do our jobs, vote down this resolution," said Tom Heart of Bayfield.

After hearing the opposition, the board voted 11 to one against a proposed resolution to support the passage of a state mining bill that would speed up the process of mine permitting.

"It would not only pollute the water, but it would also pollute the rice that you see upon our water. It would pollute the air, because... what nourishes the trees? The water," said Gretchen Morris, a member of the Red Cliff Lake Superior Band of Chippewa.

Governor Walker is a strong supporter of the mining bill claiming mining would stimulate major job growth and help boost the entire state's economy but many Washburn community leaders disagree.

"I think it's clear by what we are seeing in the hearing tonight and what we've seen and testimonies throughout the hearing that have been happening regarding the current mining legislation that this form of economic development is not a win win situation for everyone," said Washburn Mayor, Scott Griffiths.

Further discussion is planning including a public hearing in Ashland at the AmericaInn Lodge and Suites on Saturday, February ninth.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com