New "Mining" Bill Does More Damage than Mining
So there's probably no doubt you've heard about the proposed Special Session Bills (SB 24 & AB 24) in the Wisconsin Legislature that aim to "reform" protections for navigable waters. Originally thought to only open the doors to mining companies, the bills actually have turned out to be an all out assault on our state's water policy.
Here are just a couple portions this scary bill proposes:
1. The public comment period is limited to 30 days from the time the applicant submits a permit to WDNR for review. This means the public is only reviewing draft permits that may be radically changed, or for which there is not enough information yet provided to make an informed decision.
2. When members of the public believe that a permit for a new project is not protective of the waterway, the burden of proof is on the citizens to prove that the well-paid consultants hired by the applicant were wrong and that the project will cause harm.
3. Allows private companies to build structures into public waters.
4. Forces the WDNR to issue automatic permits for oil and gas production and mine prospecting if the WDNR does not act on the permit within a certain (shortened) timeframe.
(for more scary information on this bill visit the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters)
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
1. Attend the Public Hearing on the Polluters OVER People Bill. This is your ONE AND ONLY opportunity to tell your legislators in person that protecting our waterways is more rewarding a small handful of private business groups:
Joint Public Hearing on the Polluters Over People Bill
Wednesday, October 26th at 11:00am
Room 417 North, State Capitol Building
2. Can't make the meeting? Send a message to your legislators. It's simple and it's effective. Your message can overturn this terrible legislation and help protect our waterways.
After you've contacted your representative please also pass along a message to the chairs of the Natural Resources Committee:
Thank you very much for your support and activism.