Senator Bob Jauch "Laws Do Not Prohibit Iron Ore Mining in Wisconsin" (08 - 2010)

 Sen.Jauch  <> Sat, Aug 21, 2010 at 8:26 AM
To: Frank Koehn <>

Dear Frank:
Thank you for the email.
I will be glad to meet with you at a time of convenience. Given my schedule it will take some time to find a time but I will be pleased to discuss this issue with you.
I get the impression from your email that I won't take an active role in protecting the environment. To be blunt you haven't paid attention to my environmental record if that is the case. As I read the article in the Daily Press I saw very little difference between my comments and those made by Bad River Tribal Chair.
I was very candid with this company. I made it clear that they have very difficult and uphill challenge regarding any prospective proposal. I emphasized that Bad River and the Chippewa Falls treaty rights interests and that company officials ought to meet with Tribal officials and others who will raise significant enviromental issues as eagerly as they meet with those who promote the economics.
My point regarding legislative action was very simple. Laws do not prohibit iron ore mining in Wisconsin there fore the DNR, the Corps of Engineers and EPA will have the primary authority in issuing permits IF they believe that the project complies with the standards. You are certainly aware of the historical difficulties in adopting stricter mining legislation. If you have been closely monitoring the Legislative approach to environmental issues you would know that it took us 44 years to get wild river designation. It took us 12 years to get a phosphorous ban. It took us 3 years of hard work to get the Great Lakes Compact adopted. The only reason these issues were addresed is that both houses and the Governor were of the same party.
On every one of these issues I have been active and engaged. I used the influence of my job to be engaged and obtain results. There was nothing in either article that any objective individual would conclude anything different.
I don't even know if this company will proceed. They must complete their feasability study and even then I suspect that market conditions will determine as to whether they will proceed. However, as you review the articles you will note that I have forewarned the company officials about the deep concerns that will be vigorously expressed to the project. Likewise I recognize that hundreds of jobs, thousands of construction jobs and economic benefit to the region will be received well by many citizens who will feel equally passionate in favor of a project. Note that Bad River Tribal Chair said the same thing.
I don't know when we will be able to get together as my September and early October schedule is quite full. Please let my office know of time when it may be convenient in the future.
Bob Jauch
State Senator

August 20, 2010
P.O. Box 3
Herbster, WI 54844

Senator Robert Jauch
118 South, State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882

Good Evening Bob,

I am am concerned about the proposed mining project for the Penokee
Hills region. As you know this is not the first time interest has been
expressed in mineral extraction development for this area. The article
in the Ashland Daily Press (August 19, 2010) has generated great
interest with many area residents. Some will probably be excited about
the prospect of jobs and development. And as you know others will be
more concerned about the environment, water, and long term
socioeconomic impacts that may be less than desirable.
       Over these past years proposals have included a nuclear waste
disposal facility, oil well drilling, large scale garbage incineration
and the acid train cars that were traveling through our homeland on
unsafe tracks. All these activities generated public interest,
concern, and action. The mining in the Penokee Hills will be no
different, as you know.
       This article makes a point that the legislature does not vote up or
down on mines and permitting agencies and regulatory agencies are
going to have the ultimate influence on whether or not permits are
issued. In the past the regulatory and permitting agencies have
pointed to the legislation they are forced to follow. All of this, in
my opinion, has produced loopholes, waivers, and variances which give
the wealth behind developers a substantial influence. Personally I
expect an active and engaged representative when it comes to projects
such as this that may have long term effects.
       While I may not agree with your take on the  legislature's role in
this process, I do respect your position as a legislator to facilitate
the dialog. For this reason I want to schedule a meeting at your
convenience to discuss the process that has been shared by the Cline
Group representatives and your thought on this project. In addition, I
am interested in how wisconsin’s mining moratorium affects this
project development. As I live way up North, it would be easiest for
me to meet with you here.
       My phone number, address, and email are listed above. I will wait for
your response.

Thank you,

Frank K. Koehn