Thanks to decades of informed advocacy by Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) and others, the WI Department of Natural Resources is supporting the most thorough clean-up option for contaminated soil at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo.
"Keeping in mind the future use of the site as the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, this cleanup is protective of human health for even the most sensitive populations," a DNR official told the Wisconsin State Journal.
The DNR will hold a public open house on June 26 at 6 p.m. at the Ruth Culver Library, 540 Water St., Prairie du Sac. "We are taking the extra step of holding this open house because of the widespread interest and the long history of public involvement in the Badger cleanup effort," explained the DNR's regional director.
"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."
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.
"Without a public uproar, U.S. could spend more than $600 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 10 years," warns John LaForge of WNPJ member group Nukewatch, in a Counterpunch article
"For 2014, the President plans a nuclear weapons spending increase over the current level of $7.227 billion. Where’s the money to come from? Taking a page from the Reagan/Thatcher play book, Obama plans to get it from the nuclear non-proliferation budget."
The fossil fuel divestment campaign organized locally by 350 Madison, a WNPJ member group, can celebrate a victory.
"Mayor Paul Soglin announced Thursday that Madison will join nine other U.S. cities in a campaign to encourage divestment of city funds from the fossil fuel industry," reports the Wisconsin State Journal.
"Soglin said Madison doesn't have any funds invested in fossil fuel companies but will introduce a resolution encouraging the Madison School District, Dane County, UW-Madison, the state and other local governments to divest their holdings."
Almost 20% of Wisconsin's 70 operating frac sand mines and processing plants were cited for environmental violations in 2012, according to data obtained by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. 80 to 90 percent of sand industry operators were issued letters of noncompliance, a reversal of the typical statistics for a regulated industry, according to DNR air management engineer Marty Sellers.
"Take a moment to think about Northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills. Picture the vast swath of forested ridges, the shady glens where pristine water flows from headwaters springs," WNPJ member Eric Hansen writes for Milwaukee Public Media.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also carried a version of Hansen's column.
GTac's proposed open-pit iron mine would not be "a mine our grandparents would recognize, a minor incision. This is the new style mining -- a mountaintop removal mine project that would turn a unique part of Northern Wisconsin into a West Virginia-like Land of Sorrow."