The Republican-backed mining bill introduced Wednesday (1/16) has one tribal leader frustrated because he says it ignores environmental consequences.
Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins says the time for politics is over. He says legislators are missing the big picture: “I've seen the overblown figures for jobs just grow and grow with no factual basis. Okay, I get that. That can just keep getting bigger and bigger. Let's talk about the true industrialization environmental footprint.”
Bad River is downstream from a proposed $1.5 billion iron ore mine in the Penokees. Wiggins says even so, this is not a Native-only issue. “Forget about the tribes right now. Wisconsin in general deserves some dialogue about what these things really do to the groundwater aquifers, to the waters, to the natural resources, to the wild rice and waterways. There's a tremendous price to pay and that's not even looking at the type of the state-subsidized infrastructure that accompany those types of giveaways.”
Wiggins says ultimately, they may have to use federal mining regulations to counter the state legislation.