What is responsible mining?
Does a responsible mining proposal negatively impact one group of people, disproportionally more and with the least to gain, while almost completely leaving them out of the conversation?
Is a responsible mine, one in which the owner profits to the extent of buying himself a 33,000 sq ft home? A $46 million boat called "Mine Games" with his own submarine and helicopter. A gulf Stream jet. A 154 acre estate with his own private go-cart track. Do these things represent a "need" for these materials that would be mined? Is it responsible to explode a thousand foot deep hole in the Penokees for "Mine Games II"?
Does a responsible mining corporation say one thing and do another on very important questions such as, 'are you going to weaken WI mining laws?' G-Tac officials assured a crowd in January that they were not interested in weakening state law while at virtually the same time spending time and money lobbying to do just that. By summer our laws were being called onerous.
Is it responsible to weaken state law for wetland protection to help insure and make more certain the desired profit margins for some out of state billionaire coal baron?
Is it responsible for a mining company to hold WI law hostage while inflating the hopes of area residents with the promise of jobs?
Is it responsible to fast track legislation, shrouded in secrecy, on a project that could effect our area well into the next century?
Is it responsible for mining officials, legislators, and local officials to have no idea how much a project like this will potentially cost taxpayers, but at the same time selling it as a good deal?
Is this how a responsible mining operation starts out?
Is the cycle a mine like this perpetuates responsible? Explode mountain or flatten prime farm land, dig coal, stockpile waste for future generations, ship coal, burn coal, heat earth, explode mountain, turn rock to dust, take out what you want, stockpile waste for future generations, make into iron, burn more coal, add mercury to surface water for future generations, ship iron, make steel, ship steel, burn more coal, increase air pollution for future generations, make more machines to dig up more earth. Repeat.
Is there any evidence that a cycle like this could could have negative consequences? Is this the way of the future? Is this a good cycle to pass on to our kids?
Is this the best we can do?
Is wishful thinking responsible?
Does it cost us anything as humans to have to tell our children we can't eat fish because we have made them poisonous?
What happens when its gone? What happens when all the iron is dug from the Penokees?
Do we keep walking toward the cliff that global warming and an out of control oligarchy represent or do we stop? We could even stop and turn around! We could then take a step FORWARD.
As a 5th generation Wisconsinite I have learned about our heritage and am proud of it.
I feel like we stand on the shoulders of giants.
Editor's Note: Although Rasmussen's commentary focuses on the mining situation in Wisconsin, it also speaks for mining issues in Minnesota and Michigan. Legislators in all three states seek to undermine current state environmental laws that will weaken EPA CWA standards thereby permitting taconite and copper mining industries like GTAC, Kennecott/Rio Tinto, PolyMet/Glencore, Twin Metals/Antofagasta PLC to rape and destroy our ecosystems. The mantra of responsible mining is answerable by our own mantra - No Safe Mine.