Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wisconsin is Open for Business (Except for Mining)!

Our legislature here in the Badger State had a golden
opportunity to alleviate the chronic unemployment
problem that its northern region suffers from, even in
the best of times. The Assembly did its part to aid
the economically beleaguered folks up north in your
faithful Peasant's home state, but the Senate --- thanks
to the entire Democrat delegation and one (ONE!) Re-
publican --- rejected the measure which would have
given the residents of the aforementioned region of
Wisconsin a sure thing to look forward to, rather
than to attach their hopes to the ephemeral "maybe"
of a half-way decent tourist season, the tourist trade
being the only lucrative business that these struggling
people have. What am I, your observant Peasant,
referring to, you ask? A mining bill which would have
made many new, decent-paying, future-providing jobs
available for our neighbors in the north of our state!

Gogebic Taconite LLC, a major mining company, has
long wanted to build an open air iron ore pit in northern
Wisconsin. The region has a considerable amount of
the ore in its ground, and there is a definite demand
for the ore in U.S. industry. The mine was planned for
Ashland and Iron Counties, and would have created
2,800 jobs in an area where its young people pack up
and leave for places with more career opportunities
besides waiting on tables in town cafes or pumping
gas mainly for visitors who come to do some fishing,
hunting, or camping; there's not as much to do or see
in this section of our state like there is in Milwaukee,
Madison, or Green Bay, urban areas with a greater
number and vast array of sites and activities to enjoy.
And most of our state's industries and their respective
businesses are located in these areas, making for more
jobs and career-building opportunities. Jobs of any kind
are severely limited in quantity and in quality of wages
up there; it's no wonder that as soon as northern Wis-
consin's youngsters graduate from high school they
quickly make tracks for the state's major cities or
cities in other states. And many older residents of
the communities up there see less and less reason to
stick around themselves, seeing the same difficulties
that their children see. Moreover, the proposed mine
would also have made more jobs in Milwaukee and
other Wisconsin cities, as the machinery needed to
build the mine would have been made by manufac-
turers there.

Assembly Bill 426 would have reformed Wisconsin's
permitting process for building the mine, speeding up
the steps so that the it wouldn't have been a few years
but just a few months to get the permits for Gogebic to
start digging. Even though the opponents of this bill
claimed that hastening the permitting process would
have weakened existing environmental protections,
proponents argued that said reforms would have pro-
tected the environment. Some opponents of the bill,
in particular environmental activists, claim that
Gogebic wants to perform strip mining, a method
of mining which would scar and ruin the land for
generations; Gogebic has stated that it has no such
plans to strip mine for iron ore. Others in opposition
have other reasons for their stands; Local Indian
tribes oppose the mine because if it is built more
casinos might get built to accommodate the locals
along with additional people who might settle there
to take the mining jobs, and that would mean com-
petition for the Indian's own casino in or near to
the area. They aren't admitting this publicly,
however, but they do have a casino up there and
they currently have a lock on the gambling and the
entertainment markets in the proposed mining area.
Thanks and praise to Mark Belling, conservative
gabber on WISN 1130AM for pointing this out on
his weekday late afternoon show. He has your
thankful Peasant's gratitude!

The Democrats in the legislature have a highly
partisan political reason for their opposition; the
increase in jobs would benefit Republican Gov.
Scott Walker, whom they are trying mightily to
have recalled and voted out of office. One of the
fallacious mantras they are spouting is that Walker
is actually keeping jobs from being created in or
moving to Wisconsin regardless of his promise
that "Wisconsin is open for business!" If AB 426
were to have become law that would have made
Walker even harder to beat in a recall election,
as one of the Dems' main arguments against Walker
would have been shot down in flames.

The hotly-debated mining bill was passed along
party lines; Republicans enjoy a 20-seat advantage over
Democrats in that chamber. In the Senate, where Repub-
licans hold a 17-16 edge over the Democrats, even one
senator siding on a vote with the opposition party deter-
mines the fate of a bill that is otherwise backed or 
opposed entirely by the opposing party; that is what in
fact happened to AB 426. The opposing Republican
senator was Dale Schultz from Richland Center, a town
that is not even located in Northern Wisconsin!
This state senator from is southwestern Wisconsin
district put the kibosh on the economic rebirth of
a part of the state which he does not hail from and whose
citizens he does not represent, putting him at odds with
his party and the governor who was elected from same
said party. What was Schultz' motivation to vote against
the bill which would have prevented the upper part of
Wisconsin from becoming a cluster of ghost towns?
He claims that there was no scientific proof that the
permit process reforms would indeed protect the

"I would love to vote for a responsible mining bill,"
Schultz stated. "It's my hope, too, that the discussion
would continue." Now what we, my wonderful readers,
are wondering at this juncture is just what does Sen.
Schultz consider to be a "responsible" mining bill?
As far as any actual or potential harm to the environ-
ment resulting from the construction and operation of
an iron mine is concerned, Libertarian blogger
Dr. Tim Nerenz shared his thoughts on such things in
his blog "Moment of Clarity" when he talked about
the mining that took place near his hometown of
Ironwood, Michigan. Dr. Nerenz stated that there
is a beautiful wilderness that is situated right over
the very deposit of iron ore where "1/3 of the nation's
iron was produced over seven decades. 255 million
tons have been taken from that ground and I would
drink from any stream on the range today, just like
I did when I was a kid and the mines were running
full bore." As Dr. Nerenz explained, "If mining really
will ruin the environment forever, it would already
be ruined many times over." He went on to say that
each newly-built mine has benefited from the lessons
learned in the building and operation of the mines
which came before: " ... I can tell you that the safest
and cleanest mine on the planet is the nest one."
An economist, Dr. Nerenz is also familiar with
the mining industry, starting with his days as a
boy in Ironwood.

Gogebic President Bill Williams said in a statement
made right after the vote in the Senate: "Senate rejec-
tion of the mining reforms in Assembly Bill 426 sends
a clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron
mining. We get the message. GTAC is ending plans to
invest in a Wisconsin mine. We thank the many people
who have supported our efforts." Gogebic was going
to invest $1.5 billion in northern Wisconsin to bring
mining and good-paying, steady jobs to its people.
The construction and operation of an iron mine in
northern Wisconsin would also have drawn many
other businesses to that area, creating still more badly
needed jobs for its desperate residents. Roads would
have been built. Schools would have built. Hospitals
would have been built. Stores, restaurants, bars,
garages, auto dealers, water treatment plants, homes,
and places of worship would have followed. All of
these things require people to build and maintain them.
But the Senate Democrats and one RINO turned their
thumbs down to facilitating the construction of the
iron ore mine which would have made all of this
possible. They said "No way!" to giving the impov-
erished people of northern Wisconsin an opportunity
to improve the quality of their lives in their towns.
They all figured that they know better about what is
best for that region and its inhabitants. If it means that
the people currently living there have to move to where
there are plentiful jobs, or go on welfare, or simply
starve, then too bad, so sad. After all, what's the suffering
of a few thousand peasants compared to the towering
feeling of these smug elitists fancying themselves as the
champions of the great outdoors in a far-flung part of
the state, far removed from their cozy, cushy environs
in their comfy offices in Madison and their fancy,
clubby bars and bistros where they meet with their
environmental activist patrons and other lefty supporters
who fund their election campaigns to pat each other on the
back and fill one anothers' ears with haughty platitudes
in their little mutual masturbation gatherings!

The actions taken by the Democrats in both chambers of
your angered Peasant's state legislature were despicable
but predictable. So much for their self-trumpeted commit-
ment to working people. But the actions taken by supposed
Republican Sen. Dale Schultz were beneath contempt! This
person is the biggest RINO in Wisconsin and should change
the letter after his name from an R to a D post haste! And the
people in his district should vote him out of office with even
more haste! As for the Democrats in the Capitol, they too
should receive the same fate.

We Wisconsinites need jobs now! We need to turn our state's
economy around now!! We need to elect representatives
to our state legislature who will serve us by helping us to
do these urgent tasks, rather than making us serve their elitist
pals and their elitist whimsies!!! And the hardscrabble life-
weary people of the northern part of our state can best lead
the way.


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