By Sarah Witman, Communications Intern
With a vote expected on the mining bill next week, we want to fill in some of the more intricate details of the issues at hand. Clean Wisconsin is working to get Wisconsin voices heard in this fight to protect the state’s natural resources and beauty, instead of rolling back laws that protect it.
Our first post will tackle acid mine drainage, a primary concern for those who live near the proposed mine site. Acid mine drainage is water polluted by contact with mining activity, and it continues to take place long after the iron is gone and the mines have been abandoned. In short, it endangers the water we drink.
Another concern is the dangers of mercury to human health. Together we will trace the journey this toxin takes from the mining process into our waters, and into our bodies. This is of special concern to Wisconsin families as mercury can cause cognitive problems in infants and children and neurological problems in adults. Additionally, we know from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission’s report last year that “air emissions from taconite plants are the largest source of mercury in the Lake Superior basin,” so this post will also take a look at poor air quality as a result of deregulated mines.
Then, we will profile existing mines as far north as Alaska to right here in Badgerland. Looking at past failures and successes is the most true-to-life way to see the impacts of mines on states’ environments, and understand the value of well-written mining legislation.
We’ll also be giving an in-depth look at the cultural, spiritual and environmental significance of the Penokee Hills — the area where an out-of-state mining company has already shown interest in setting up shop. The site is in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, home to many species of native plants and animals that could be displaced. It is also near an internationally recognized wild rice bed and wetland, and a variety of pristine lakes, rivers and streams that flow into Lake Superior.
We want Wisconsin to be on the same page as we fight dangerous changes to Wisconsin’s mining laws. While things are changing daily in our mining fight at the Capitol, the conversation here will fill in the finer details.