Viewpoint: Author defends his position on mining issue
First off I have nothing against mining per se, just the GTAC mine bill, the disreputable tactics used to ram it through, the dubious data used in support of it, and the debatable impact on the environment. Why is it that you are labeled an environmentalist extremist if you dare base the discussion on fact and not supposition?
Gullan continues to mislead with the falsehood of “temporarily closing the mining site”; even though Tiffany gives his understanding of the bill’s “temporary” as having no definitive cut-off date and by Tiffany’s own admission it could last up to 3 years. Then Mr. Gullan would have you believe that GTAC’s $75,000 donation to Tiffany’s campaign had no influence (really?) and why would the mine care if people were around, if not for worker safety. Well, maybe because the mine does not want scrutiny of its conduct or mining practices.
Gullan then exaggerates a yelling match between the workers and protestors into a terrorist attack. Except for the one protestor arrested for trying to take a workers camera the video depicts nothing more than the trading of verbal insults. Also, I can’t seem to find the police reports which should have been filed for the alleged property damage and sabotage.
Gullan points out impediments to the Roy Hill mine coming on line in an attempt to somehow bolster the GTAC mine- the RH mine is a “potential” yes, but the harbor, airport and roads are complete and the centerline for the railroad has been cleared with the shipping of ore scheduled for 2015, but nobody knows when or if ever the GTAC mine will come on line. So what is the point? Well, the world’s iron ore needs are not likely to be met by the U.S. whose proven deposits and production at 26,696,000 metric tons per annum are a poor tenth in world ranking behind China’s 800,000,000 tons and second ranking Australia’s of 394,000,000 tons.
Gullan further uses a ploy by Media Trackers and echoed by GOP legislators which attempts to shift focus away from legislation designed to erode mining regulations for the benefit of a single company. Compared to larger industries in Wisconsin that utilize all of their legal and monetary resources to fight compliance with EPA regulations, the Bad River Band has worked with the EPA to rectify an identified problem with limited resources. Yes, they have not been fined yet, but so haven’t most of the biggest municipal and industrial polluters in Wisconsin. (See projects.nytimes.com/toxic-waters/polluters/wisconsin).
Lastly, we are all concerned about good paying jobs. So, what are realistic job numbers?
If the economic impact on the local economy is the justification for the mine, job numbers should be more than “pie-in the-sky” vague generalities. Wisconsinites deserve to understand the basis for the estimated employment by type/ level, local/imported, supported by projections of production, and phase of the project so as to judge how they compare with mining operations elsewhere, such as the Nashwauk mine in Minnesota. Without this data it is difficult to give weight to unsubstantiated statements about the direct/indirect economic benefits to northern Wisconsin.
John Kocovsky, Woodruff