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Wis. legislature's latest shameful mining bills

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Wis. legislature's latest shameful mining bills

Postby minicat » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:48 am

The legislature is pulling another fast one, releasing a bill yesterday aimed at removing local control over environmental protection (gee, I thought the right wingers were all about local control!), which apparently would basically let frac sand mining companies (and, essentially, any big business) to do whatever they want. And in their favored fashion, they're trying to slam this whole noxious thing through in the next couple days.

Kathleen Vinehout summed up the threat -- and who needs to be contacted to oppose it -- far better than I could. So I'm just going to pass that along.

Dear Friends,

I am writing to alert you to a bill that appears to roll back the ability of locals to control what happens within their boundaries, especially with regard to sand mining.

This legislation is aimed at taking away local ability to protect health and safety in communities; including locals’ ability to put limits on water quality, water quantity, air quality, use of explosives and road use contracts.

The Walker Administration has been very reluctant to provide adequate resources for the enforcement of existing laws to protect health and safety. Local rules are the last line of defense for people.

This bill is related to sand mines. However, in my preliminary discussion with Legislative Council attorneys, the bill is not specific to just non-metallic mining (sand and gravel extraction). For example, if a community sets rules in a way other than zoning (such as police powers) they may lose this authority.

The bill is currently in draft form but I expect it to move very quickly through the legislative process. I attached a copy of the bill and the co-sponsorship memo for your information and use. The bill is complex and likely has long reaching implications for local control.

The bill was just released late yesterday. I LEARNED THERE WILL LIKELY BE A JOINT HEARING OF THE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY COMMITTEES RELATED TO MINING ON THURSDAY OCTOBER 24, 2013 AT 9 AM IN MADISON. IF IT IS AT ALL POSSIBLE, YOU SHOULD MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND THIS HEARING. The bill could potentially be voted out of committee at this hearing. THIS LEGISLATION COULD BECOME LAW IN JUST A FEW WEEKS.

Over the next several days I will be working with the Legislature’s attorneys to understand the details of the legislation. If you have specific questions please email them to me and I will pass them on to the attorneys. I will share details about the bill as I learn of them.

The bill comes on the heels of other legislation that takes away powers from local people to control what happens in their neighborhoods. This is part of a larger pattern in Governor Walker’s administration. The bill appears to be written by mining interests – many of which are owned by out-of-state companies.

Everyone who cares about having a voice in what happens in their neighborhood needs to pay attention to this bill. It certainly appears to take away local ability to protect communities and gives sand mines the ability to run roughshod over local people.

I strongly oppose the legislation. I wonder why politicians in Madison should seek to control our local communities. They don’t live here. I don’t know why any legislator from western Wisconsin would turn control over our land to politicians in Madison. I ASK YOU TO ASK MY COLLEAGUES ON THE MINING COMMITTEES THE SAME QUESTION.

Sincerely, Kathleen

SENATE COMMITTEE ON MINING:

Sen. Tom Tiffany, Chair
608-266-2509
Sen.tiffany@legis.wi.gov

Sen. Darling
608-266-5830
Sen.darling@legis.wi.gov

Sen. Grothman
608-266-7513
Sen.grothman@legis.wi.gov

Sen. Jauch
608-266-3510
Sen.jauch@legis.wi.gov

Sen. Lehman
608-266-1832
Sen.lehman@legis.wi.gov

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON MINING

Rep. Williams, Chair
888-534-0087
Rep.williamsm@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Knodl, Vice Chair
888-529-0024
Rep.knodl@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Larson
888-534-0067
Rep.larson@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Sanfelippo
888-534-0015
Rep.Sanfelippo@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Kapenga
888-534-0099
Rep.Kapenga@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Kuglitsch
888-534-0084
Rep.kuglitsch@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Petryk
888-534-0093
Rep.petryk@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Petersen
888-947-0040
Rep.petersen@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Jacque
888-534-0002
Rep.Jacque@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Clark
888-534-0081
Rep.clark@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Bernand-Schaber
888-534-0057
Rep.bernardschaber@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Zamarripa
888-534-0008
Rep.zamarripa@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Hintz
888-534-0054
Rep.hintz@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Hulsey
608-266-7521
Rep.hulsey@legis.wi.gov

Rep. Ohnstad
888-534-0065
Rep.ohnstad@legis.wi.gov
minicat
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Re: Wis. legislature's latest shameful mining bills

Postby rabble » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:48 pm

They say they won't be voting on this one.
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says his chamber won't take up a bill that would scale back local governments' ability to regulate mining this fall.

Really? Why not?
..he says the Assembly will be busy this fall with bills on mental health care, worker training and reforming elections, including changes to make voter photo identification constitutional.

Oh. Well that doesn't worry me at all. I'm sure they're going to reform mental health care so more people get help. And they certainly aren't planning to disenfranchise any voters.
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Re: Wis. legislature's latest shameful mining bills

Postby minicat » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:15 pm

Rally tomorrow:

Dozens of Groups to Rally for Local Control at State Capitol Thursday

On Thursday, Oct. 24, at 12 noon, Wisconsin citizens will rally on the State Street Steps outside the State Capitol in response to the unprecedented attack on local democracy launched by Sen. Tom Tiffany on behalf of the frac sand mining industry.

Last week, Tiffany made public LRB-3146, a draft bill that would strip local governments of the power to protect air and water quality, prevent unsafe blasting, and recoup costs to taxpayers from damage done to local roadways by heavy truck traffic from frac sand mining operations. While aimed squarely at communities experiencing the consequences of the uncontrolled boom in frac sand mining, the law impacts counties, townships, and municipalities throughout Wisconsin. It would prevent local governments anywhere from instituting environmental and public health protections beyond what the state is able or willing to enforce, such as efforts of communities threatened by the proposed G-Tac open pit iron mine to prevent blasting in asbestos-laden bedrock.

"This bill has the effect of regarding residents in our townships across the whole state as simply collateral damage that is 'necessary' for industry development and profits," said UW-Eau Claire Professor Emeritus Ron Koshoshek, who lives near Chippewa Falls.

The Senate committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining, and Revenue will hold a public hearing on the bill starting at 9:30 am on Thursday. A citizen lobby day against the bill is also being planned.

The noon rally is being sponsored by more than 30 groups, including: Madison Action for Mining Alternatives, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Wisconsin Grassroots Network, Save the Hills Alliance, Inc., Family Farm Defenders, Preserve Trempealeau County, Save Our Town Whitehall, Town of Lincoln Concerned Citizens, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, SOUL of Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Crawford Stewardship Project, Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network, People Empowered Protect the Land (PEPL) of Rosendale, Kewaunee CARES, Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens, South Western Wisconsin Area Progressives, Frac Sand Sentinel, Concerned Chippewa Citizens, Monroe County Sand Mines, Houston County Protectors (MN), Maiden Rock Concerned Citizens, Sierra Club, Loyalty to Our Land, Buffalo County Defenders, Hale No to Frac Sand Mining in Western WI, Physicians and Health Care
Providers of the Chippewa Valley, Juneau Action Group, Preserve Waupaca County, Allamakee County Protectors Education Campaign (IA), Save-The-Bluffs-Goodhue County (MN), Frac Sand Industry Awareness in Wisconsin, Concerned Citizens of Dovre, Mississippi River Water Walk, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (WV), Echo Valley Hope, Friends of Wabasha (MN),Citizens Against Silica Mining (MN), Citizens for Responsible Land Use, David F. Slottje, Executive Director, Community Environmental Defense Council, Inc. (NY), Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, and others.
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Re: Wis. legislature's latest shameful mining bills

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:18 pm

Latest mining bill would mean no local oversight of 100 Dane County sites, including frac sand

“People don’t know that the cornfield next door (in some cases) is actually an unregulated mining site,” (Dane County Executive Joe) Parisi said.

He expressed concern over frac sand deposits in the western one-third of the county, saying he did not want the frac sand industry in Dane County.

“We have grave concerns over this bill,” Parisi said. “It strips the ability of local governments to regulate mining in their own backyards.”
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Re: Wis. legislature's latest shameful mining bills

Postby rabble » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:49 pm

If at first you don't succeed, revamp.

Gentler version of bill curbing local ability to regulate frac sand mines is set for hearing

The reworked bill, authored by Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, still would limit the ability of local governments to regulate existing mines but not mines sited in the future.

...
The change is enough that the Wisconsin Towns Association is no longer opposed to the bill. The Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association and several other industry-related associations are registered in favor of the bill.

But relying on the state Department of Natural Resources to monitor the frac sand industry is problematic for two reasons, say numerous critics of the bill: the DNR does not have staff dedicated to monitoring the industry and the state doesn’t monitor for crystalline silica dust, a lung carcinogen.

For those reasons, the John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club is registered against it. Other environmental organizations aren’t keen on it, either.
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