How Clintonville booms may save Wisconsin

"So it was a 1.5 magnitude earthquake, not an alien invasion or giant gophers, that's been making those mysterious noises in Clintonville, we're told," writes WNPJ member (and former Board co-chair) Bill Christofferson.

"Well and good. Let's hope those microquakes stop.

"And let's hope this also means that Wisconsin's Wolf River Batholith (the purple area on the map, click to enlarge) will come off the list of potential radioactive waste sites once and for all."

Read the entire article, here.

Fukushima Roulette: One Year Later

A year after the reactor meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor complex, "the list of radioactively contaminated foods, waters, soils, vegetation and export goods continues to grow longer, and government-established allowable contamination rates appear wildly arbitrary," John LaForge of WNPJ member group Nukewatch reports on CounterPunch.org.

"For example, Japan intends in April to lower its permissible level of cesium in milk to 50 becquerels per kilogram from the 200 Bq/Kg that is permitted now. Evidently, an amount of contamination deemed permissible for both robust and vulnerable populations for the past year, will become four times too dangerous to consume -- on April Fool’s Day."

At the state Capitol on Monday, "alternative energy advocates claimed little has changed in nuclear power plant regulation and that Wisconsin’s drinking water could be at risk for contamination in the event of a similar situation in the state," reported the Badger Herald.  Pictures of the briefing, co-organized by WNPJ, can be found here.  (Presenters, from left: Dr. Arjun Makhijani, John Kinsman, Scott Thompson and Drew Lehmann)

Defeated in Senate, mining company says "Goodbye"

Gegobic Taconite, an out-of-state mining company that had pressed the Wisconsin legislature for a radical change in state mining regulations to permit a massive strip mine in northern Wisconsin's Penokee Hills, has now announced that it is withdrawing from Wisconsin. Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams issued a statement immediately after Tuesday's Senate vote rejecting a company-authored mining bill, saying the Senate sent a "clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron mining. We get the message." Mining opponents, led by members of the Bad River Chippewa, turned out in large numbers for two public hearings, organized protests and a statewide lobby day at the Capitol and kept the phones of Senators ringing with constituent calls. In the end, 16 Democratic Senators were joined by Republican Senator Dale Schultz to provide a 17-16 majority to kill a mining bill that the Walker administration had cited as as one of its top legislative priorities. Read more...

One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Dangers in Wisconsin

"Nearly a year after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused a major disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power reactors, it's almost business as usual for the U.S. nuclear industry, which remains bullish about its prospects to expand and build more reactors," writes Bill Christofferson, a past Board chair with WNPJ and part of the Carbon Free, Nuclear Free Wisconsin coalition.

"In Wisconsin, home to three of the nation's oldest reactors, with two more just across the Mississippi River in Minnesota, that may pose serious risks to the environment, the economy and human health," he adds.

On Monday, March 12, Dr. Arjun Makhijani will lead a special briefing at 12:30 pm in room 300SE of the state Capitol.  Click here for details.

Mine Bill Update

The mining bill, AB 426, currently awaits an executive session of the Joint Finance Committee, which will likely vote to pass it to the full Senate, its last stop before Governor Walker's desk. There it faces uncertainty as to whether it will pass. Meanwhile, Senators Jauch and Schultz introduced a new piece of compromise legislation to the Joint Finance Committee, that leaves out a lot of the damaging provisions of AB 426 but still imposes unreasonably short timelines for iron mine permitting on the DNR. (Click here for our analysis of the new mining bill.)

The Bad River Band of Ojibwe put out ten principles for any new mining legislation to follow, but they were completely left out of the drafting of this bill, in violation of their treaty rights. At a February 17 Joint Finance Committee hearing on the bill, over 75% of those in attendance registered or testified against, including two geologists who testified that the rock in the Penokee Hills that would be unearthed by a mine contains up to 20% pyrite, a sulfide mineral, resulting in a grave risk of acid mine drainage from the proposed mine.

What you can do:

Capital Times: Mining opponents pack hearing

Opponents of a proposed strip mine to be located in northern Wisconsin's Penokee hills turned out to a hearing before the legislature's Joint Finance committee today. The last-minute hearing was arranged after Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald cancelled a planned public hearing about the mine that was to be held in Platteville on Thursday, dissolving the special committee that had been created to draft a Senate mining bill. Mining opponents brought jars of water to the hearing, each labeled "It's about the water," to call attention to the threat posed by the mine to streams and wetlands near the site. The Senate may vote on a mining bill as early as next week. Take Action: Please contact your Senator to urge them to vote against the bill. (Photo: Anti-mining ralling in Madison, January 25th.)


Click here for updates on the mining bill.

Mine Bill Update

Photo by Tom Buchkoe

Following on the State Assembly's vote to pass a mining bill that would fast-track a strip-mining project in northern Wisconsin's Penokee hills by limiting public input and environmental oversight, Senate Republicans have scheduled a hearing on a Senate version of the mining bill for Friday. Feb. 17th in Platteville, nearly 300 miles from the proposed mine site, continuing a pattern of choosing hearing locations that make it difficult for mining opponents who live near the mine to attend and testify. The first hearing held by Assembly Republicans was in West Allis, more than 300 miles from the mine site. (Photo: Iron ore strip mine in northern Minnesota)

1) Please join those who will be speaking at the Platteville hearing against the mine (details below)

2) Please contact your Senator to urge them to oppose the mining bill currently being drafted (more info on the legislation below)

3) Join Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters at a special lobby day on the mining bills on Thursday, February 16th, from 12-5:00pm, Click here for details and to RSVP

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