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MADISON, Wis. - Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate and a number of Wisconsin environmental organizations have come out in strong opposition to a bill that would change the state's law about mining permits.
State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, says Wisconsin is a state that prides itself on clean and abundant water, and this bill erodes the state's heritage of good stewardship. He says our policies should reflect a long-term commitment to safeguarding our natural resources.
He says this proposal does exactly the opposite. "Senate Bill 395 threatens the health and safety of our land and water by getting rid of a decades-long 'prove it first' mining law that requires mining corporations to prove they can mine responsibly without hurting local drinking water before being granted a mining permit," he explains.
The Republican sponsors of the bill say the state already has plenty of laws in place to protect local groundwater, and that the "prove-it-first" law is just another unnecessary burden on business. The bill is aimed at allowing a permit for a sulfide mining operation in northern Wisconsin.
Larson calls the bill "dangerous" and says there's plenty of science to back up his assertion. "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sulfide mining is America's most toxic industry, proving a common-sense need for an effective reporting system like the one currently in place," he says. "If passed into law, this bill would hurt Wisconsin's water and our reputation." Larson says the state has an obligation to our children and grandchildren to ensure pollution-free water, air and land for the health and enjoyment of future generations.