In the News

Mining and Other Environmental News

Recent articles on environmental issues in Wisconsin. Please click on the titles to read the entire articles.

Band of Ojibwe Begin Occupation of Penokee Hills: "The LCO harvest camp is small — five acres as compared to the four and a half miles proposed for the mine here. But LCO tribal elder Melvin Gasper says that this is not just a way to protest the mine plans, but also to get in the way by occupying part of it. Gasper says this is an exercise of their 1842 treaty rights in the Ceded Territory of northern Wisconsin to hunt, fish and gather." Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio. For more info on the camp, see the separate page here.

Wisconsin is testing ground for mining industry response to opposition: "The highly unpopular iron mine giveaway bill is not only a major rollback of environmentally protective mining laws, it is also a well-funded mining industry assault on the grass-roots environmental, sport fishing and tribal movement that mobilized tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens to oppose Exxon’s destructive Crandonmine at the headwaters of the Wolf River and enact Wisconsin’s landmark “Prove It First” Mining Moratorium Law in 1998," says Al Gedicks. And the world is watching to see what happens in the face of "the massive public uproar against this project." Al Gedicks, The Capital Times, 3/7/13. Al Gedicks is executive secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, a WNPJ member group.

Wisconsin mining law reforms benefit polluters

"After the passage of Act 1 [the Bad River Watershed Destruction Act], one of the last protections for ecologically critical watersheds in gold and base metal exploration areas in Oneida, Taylor and Marathon counties is the Mining Moratorium Law," write Al Gedicks of WNPJ member group Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (and former WNPJ Board member) and Dave Blouin of the Sierra Club in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Yet mining companies have said their top priority is repealing Wisconsin's mining moratorium - also called the "prove it first" law.

"That the North American mining industry cannot meet the Moratorium Law is a problem of its own making and purely reflects the fact that mining metallic sulfide ores remains proven to be unsafe," add Gedicks and Blouin.  "Our clean air and drinking water and the critical habitats and healthy environment we all depend on are threatened by the mining industry's so-called reforms."

Bill would limit drone surveillance in Wisconsin

A bill introduced by state Representatives Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva), David Craig (R-Town of Vernon), Frederick Kessler (D-Milwaukee) and Chris Taylor (D-Madison) would prohibit law enforcement and individuals from using drones without a warrant, except in special circumstances. It would also bar the private use of drones equipped with video or audio equipment, or with a weapon.

The ACLU of Wisconsin applauded the bill. 

Conservation Congress passes resolutions against mining law

A resolution to repeal the Iron Mining Bill (SB/AB 1) submitted by WNPJ members and allies at the April 8 Conservation Congress passed by wide margins in all four counties in which it was introduced. The total vote was 49-6 in Clark County, 221-67 in Dane County, 32-6 in LaCrosse County, and 158 to 79 in Milwaukee County. Total 460 yes, 158 no. The vote tallies are especially significant considering the resolution did not come to the floor for discussion until the end of the formal agenda, around 11:00 p.m. in Dane County.

Critique of the Senate immigration bill

Arizona-based grassroots group Derechos Humanos (colleagues of WNPJ Board member Karma Chavez) has a detailed critique of the proposed Senate immigration reform bill.

"The purported 'path to citizenship' is a cruel misrepresentation that has brought out both the anti-immigrant voices to cry out that 11 million 'should not receive citizenship,' and the immigrant community to believe that a fair process for their legalization will be put in place.  Neither is a reality," the group states.

"As we tout the importance of family, this bill changes this priority by removing two preference categories from the family-based immigration process ... as well as creating 'merit' based visas and repealing the Diversity Visa Program, an important avenue for African and Caribbean immigrants.  Importantly, the bill provides no avenue for LBGTQ families to reunite."

Drones, sanctions and the prison industrial complex

By Brian Terrell, a Catholic Worker and Co-Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a WNPJ member group

In the final weeks of a six month prison sentence for protesting remote control murder by drones, specifically from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, I can only reflect on my time of captivity in light of the crimes that brought me here. In these ominous times, it is America’s officials and judges and not the anarchists who exhibit the most flagrant contempt for the rule of law and it is due to the malfeasance of these that I owe the distinction of this sabbatical.

WNPJ members in the news

WNPJ members comment on important issues.

Global Warming:  WNPJ member Eric Hanson compares today's efforts to earlier conservation movements. "Conservation, whether the relatively complex notions of catastrophic global climate change or the familiar concepts of contour plowing or catch and release fishing, boils down to the common-sense goodness of one theme: What we have today we also want to be here for tomorrow."  Read his article here. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/22/13.

Gun Control:  Two letters to the editor by WNPJ members. Click on their names to view their letters.

WNPJ members featured in the news

The New Yorker magazine recently reported on a ceremony held in the village of My Lai, Vietnam, to commemorate the massacre that took place there forty-five years ago. It featured the life journey Mike Boehm, a Viet Nam veteran who founded Winds of Peace, Projects in Viet Nam, a WNPJ member group,  to help the people of My Lai. “I dug up some old photos and there were children outside a primitive, dirt-floored school. I was looking at those photos and I saw what we had done. ...Those kids are now adults and their children now go to one of our new schools.” Read the story here.

Photo: Mike Boehm accepting the UNA -USA Global Citizen Award, 2008.

And the Capital Times interviewed Madeleine Para, of 350.org, a WNPJ member group concerned with climate change. “With a problem as big as climate change, if our government doesn’t move on it, all the other important things that are going on will not be sufficient,” said Para. read the interview here.

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