Wisconsin Senate Repeals Mining Moratorium

Nov 8, 2017 | Mining | 1 comment

Legislation that guts long-standing protections from acid mine pollution overcame bi-partisan opposition and public opinion to move on to Governor Walker. He has indicated he will sign SB 395 / AB 499. Wisconsin will lose our decades long “Prove it First” protections from toxic sulfide mining. You can learn more about the dangers of sulfide mining in this short video.

River Alliance members, thousands of you who have fought hard to beat this back, are understandably disappointed. But we are determined to protect Wisconsin’s waters. In the short term, that means local action to stop mining projects. In the long term, we will work to re-establish common-sense statewide protections from sulfide mining pollution.

Three quarters of Wisconsin voters want to keep laws that protect local waters from permanent damage. Few outside a narrow group of corporate special interests want this legislation, which means a couple things. First, on this and virtually every other recent water conservation issue—from high-capacity wells to Foxconn to sulfide mines—industry money has proven too powerful for politicians to resist. But secondly, and most importantly, the people are with us.

Want more proof? Tens of thousands learned about the dangers of sulfide mining by watching videos River Alliance produced for social media. Hundreds attended local educational events. Hundreds more went on to contact state legislators and local elected officials to voice their opposition. People are energized and ready to act NOW. We don’t see that dissipating in the next months and years. This is just the beginning.

Aquila Mine Sites in Wisconsin
Aquila Resources mine sites in Wisconsin.

Local Efforts Are Critical

Municipalities like counties, towns and cities must adopt measures that protect local and neighboring communities from the risks of mining projects. This especially applies to Marathon and Taylor counties where Canadian mining company Aquila Resources has plans to implement sulfide mines. (You can read more on the Aquila Resources webpage.)

Opposition and organizing at the local level continues in northeastern Wisconsin, where local leaders have driven action in opposition to the proposed Back Forty mine. Eleven municipal governments have formally opposed the mine.

Municipalities and tribal governments that have passed resolutions to proposed Back Forty sulfide mine.

In short, the repeal of the “Prove it First” protections means the state government has put the entire burden of protecting Wisconsin waters from sulfide mining pollution on small, rural communities.

The River Alliance of Wisconsin will provide support to help local governments protect themselves from the dangers shortsighted politicians have created.

YOU are part of this strategy and we invite you to sign up for our email communications and follow us on social media for updates and ways you can get involved.

Thank You

Thank you to the thousands of people and the local, statewide and national groups who have raised their voices and given their time to this fight, it’s far from over and there’s much to be done.

River Alliance of Wisconsin and our members will be there.