Senate slows mining bill

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Henry Vilas
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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:01 am

Northern Wisconsin Chippewa tribes might use treaties to halt or slow proposed mine

Armed with its status as a sovereign nation and powerful treaties with the federal government, the Bad River Chippewa tribe has the legal muscle to do what Democratic opponents of an iron mine proposed for northern Wisconsin have so far been unable to do: halt or delay the project.

Those powers, say experts on Native American law, appear to have been both underestimated and misunderstood by proponents of the mine, including Republican legislators who have been criticized for failing to consult with tribal members as they work on a bill to streamline permitting for the mine.


Treaties are part of the supreme law of our nation and supercede state law.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:45 pm

Compromise on GOP mining bill unlikely as Sen. Schultz refuses support

The version before the Joint Finance Committee includes limited provisions for public legal challenges but it still wasn't enough to sway Schultz, who has the key vote in the Senate where Republicans hold a 17-16 majority. The mining bill is likely to be voted on by the Senate Tuesday.

Schultz said he disagreed with the legal challenge allowed in the GOP compromise because it doesn't allow a challenge until after a permit is issued.

"Postponing the contested case proceeding until after approval or denial shifts the burden of proof from the applicant and the state Department of Natural Resources to the citizenry," Schultz said.

In a press conference prior to the Joint Finance Committee meeting, Schultz had harsh words for the latest GOP offer.

"I would say the compromise they just offered is no compromise at all. It makes a bad idea worse."

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby snoqueen » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:42 pm

Schultz said he disagreed with the legal challenge allowed in the GOP compromise because it doesn't allow a challenge until after a permit is issued.


He's exactly right. What's the point of only allowing challenges once they issue the permit? And the DNR is supposed to be acting on behalf of the citizens with regard to the conservation of our natural resources, not on behalf of the mining company.

Someday when all this is history, if Schultz stands his ground (and nobody else caves) he's going to be remembered right up there with Nelson, Leopold, and Wisconsin's other great conservationists. In private life, Schultz is known as a conservationist himself and has done a lot of restoration of his own land. I hope he's able to hold out.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby gargantua » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:39 pm

At this point, Schultz almost might as well caucus with the Democrats and make Fitzgerald be the minority leader. Unless it doesn't work at the state level like it would in the US Senate. Then, never mind.

Besides, Schultz has principles. He wouldn't do it because the people who voted for him voted for a Republican. And they did, he's just not one of the numerous crazy ones giving the party such a bad name.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:38 am

Damn! I didn't see this until now. Thank you Sen.Schultz:

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 963f4.html

Gogebic says they're walking.

Now, can we please, please, get back to the conventional method of lawmaking, where elected legislators and not corporations write the bills?

Not quite yet, I suppose.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby Bert Ernie » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:04 pm

"Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said Assembly Republicans are done compromising because Gogebic Taconite won’t accept any more concessions."

Did he just say that?? Apparently Gogebic is writing the legislation.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby artisan » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:21 pm

Let's not celebrate too soon, they claimed to "abandon" the project last year too. They make such grotesque profits from these projects that they can wait for years and spend huge amounts of money lobbying the whole time....

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby gargantua » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:48 pm

Bert Ernie wrote:"Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said Assembly Republicans are done compromising because Gogebic Taconite won’t accept any more concessions."

Did he just say that?? Apparently Gogebic is writing the legislation.


From my experience in government, industry participation in drafting legislation is very common, and is not always a bad thing. It seems to be much more pervasive now, so much so that they no longer feel any obligation to hide it.

I'm glad Gogebic laid it bare: they could not mine in an environmentally responsible way. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, Gogebic.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby Bert Ernie » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:20 pm

gargantua wrote:From my experience in government, industry participation in drafting legislation is very common, and is not always a bad thing.


Yes...it's called ALEC.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:00 pm

Industry participation makes sense if it's part of a well-rounded procedure that also includes

1) effective public participation and effective input from freely-functioning, relevant state agencies and bureaus;

2) plenty of time for review of legislation proposed;

3) freely publishing and sharing the proposed legislation long before the final bill is written and voted on;

4) industry participation that includes competing business interests.

We saw none of that with Gogebic/ALEC. Who knows -- if they'd followed a reasonable procedure in line with Wisconsin traditions and practices, we might have a mining bill right now.

If they're smart, they'll realize they created this train wreck themselves. I'm not holding my breath.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby jman111 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:04 pm

To me, it's clear that the seeds have been planted for the "Dems stopped this job creation effort" rhetoric from the right.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby Peanutbutter » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:31 pm

jman111 wrote:To me, it's clear that the seeds have been planted for the "Dems stopped this job creation effort" rhetoric from the right.


It isn't "rhetoric" if it is true.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby jman111 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:40 pm

Peanutbutter wrote:
jman111 wrote:To me, it's clear that the seeds have been planted for the "Dems stopped this job creation effort" rhetoric from the right.


It isn't "rhetoric" if it is true.

How many D's in the senate, PB?

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:33 pm

Sen. Schultz not only broke from his GOP caucus over the mining bill, but he also helped stop restrictions on wind power.

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Re: Senate slows mining bill

Postby gargantua » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:41 pm

snoqueen wrote:Industry participation makes sense if it's part of a well-rounded procedure that also includes

1) effective public participation and effective input from freely-functioning, relevant state agencies and bureaus;

2) plenty of time for review of legislation proposed;

3) freely publishing and sharing the proposed legislation long before the final bill is written and voted on;

4) industry participation that includes competing business interests.

We saw none of that with Gogebic/ALEC. Who knows -- if they'd followed a reasonable procedure in line with Wisconsin traditions and practices, we might have a mining bill right now.

If they're smart, they'll realize they created this train wreck themselves. I'm not holding my breath.


I agree with all four of these points. It was quite awhile ago but these points were included in some training agency staff who had legislative responsibilities received. It was called something like Systematic Development of Informed Consent. Unfortunately, too often the informed consent part has been done away with as an inconvenience by our current rulers.


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