Demonstrators Gather at Wisconsin Capitol

27 Feb

Cross Posted from The Daily Cardinal

Approximately 70 demonstrators gathered on the Capitol steps Tuesday to protest the contentious state mining bill that is designed to ease the mine permitting process in the state before the state Senate fully considers the bill Wednesday.

Madison Action for Mining Alternatives organized a candlelight vigil along with members of the Bad River Band of Chippewa, whose reservation sits downstream from the proposed mining site in northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills, which would be made possible if the mining bill passes.

Carl Sack, a MAMA organizer, said the demonstrators represented the continued effort to oppose the harmful effects a mine could have on the northern Wisconsin environment, specifically the Bad River, which runs through the heart of the Native American reservation named after it.

“You cannot put an iron mine in the Penokee Hills and do no damage,” Sack said. “It’s the mine itself that’s the problem, not just the legislation that supports it.”

Sack said opponents of the legislation have continued to fight a mining bill, specifically one tied to Gogebic Taconite, the company interested in opening the northern mine, for two years, and will continue to do so for as long as necessary.

“If [the Legislature] pass[es] this bill and [Gogebic Taconite] really does follow through on [its] absurd proposal, [the legislature] will have an uphill fight on their hands for years and possibly decades,” Sack said. “We’re not going to give up short of people laying in front of bulldozers.”

Northern Wisconsin citizens, including Bad River representatives, will take a bus to the Capitol Wednesday to continue protesting the bill.

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