Mining hearing draws overflow crowd

More than 600 people, including many members of the Bad River and Red Cliff tribes, turned out for the first public hearing in northern Wisconsin on a mining bill that would fast-track mining projects by limiting public input and environmental oversight. The decision to schedule the hearing by the Assembly Committee on Jobs, the Economy, and Small Business represented a victory for mining opponents who had criticized the committee's initial plan to only hold one public hearing near Milwaukee, about 300 miles away from the proposed mine. At the hearing, tribal leaders and members spoke strongly against the mine. "Environmentally, this bill is a disaster," said Tom Maulson, president of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Indians, said about the bill, "It is page after page of deregulation, giving a `boom and bust industry' free rein to rape the environment that we all depend on." Read more...