WE (savethewartersedge.com) response to the Senate Select Mining Committer Press Release 112.22.12

Seems the Senate Select Committee on Mining will have a final document on January 7, 2013. This draft bill will attempt to reach consensus on:

What can be put in a bill to that makes Wisconsin a mine friendly community that pours money in our communities.

Secondary goals seem to include:

Protecting the environment,

Allowing for public input, and

“Streamlining” the permitting process

Tim Cullen, (D-Janesville) committee Chair, took no votes. Cullen did recognize that AB426 is what the Republicans want; Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) called this process to reach consensus “an exercise” in futility; and Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) suggests the committee’s work is “unique” as the attempt was made to take emotion out of the mix. Cullen bought more time and set January 7 as the big date that may well attempt to set a new standard by which we measure responsible, as in responsible mining.

Unfortunately the process ignored the role of the First Nations in Ceded Territory and also opted to ignore the Reserved Treaty Rights. This is just wrong and unfair. It ignores the treaties, which do belong to all of us in Ceded Territory. These treaties were negotiated and agreements were made that opened up the big woods to a rambunctious young nation charging across the New World. 

This draft wills unlikely address co-management of Ceded territory with the First Nations. In fact the proposal addresses a “time” for the Wisconsin’s Department of Resources (DNR) to consult with the First Nations. This means the DNR is charge which smacks of racial bias.

So what is going on? Rather than address the treaty issues and the reserved rights of First Nations, our politicians want to cut deals on who gets the tax money generated by mining. More time was spent dividing up the mining companies tax dollars than discussing water resources.  What is at state includes the Penokee Hills, the Bad River Watershed and the homeland of The Bad River Ojibwe First Nation.

So far this project is not recognized as an assault on human rights. Honesty and what is fair, has no place in the process. Respect, concern, and compassion for the next Seven Generations are still absent from the dialog.

However, present and accounted for are the lobbyists ready to cash in, and elected bullies storming around the Capitol building demanding they get their way.  First Nations are virtually ignored, their natural resources expertise, managed by the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) is left out.

At the Water’s Edge (WE) we say no way – WE expect co-managed resources with DNR and GLIFWC working together to protect our water resources and the life they support. WE expect state government and the federal government and their respective agencies to work with First Nations governments to preserve and protect resources and support the cultural diversity for everyone who relies on the gifts found in our natural systems.

Political party voices are portraying the debate as a Democrat vs. Republican issue. This is just too simple – this is more than a political debate – it is all about how we define fair play, recognize prejudice, and the respect for those who will follow us – this is a discussion of our moral, spiritual, racial attitudes, and our concern and respect for the natural world and pristine wilderness.

We must all remember, Water is life and water is always more precious than gold.

Enjoy winter and Merry Christmas