Republican governor Scott Walker has signed a measure Monday in a bid to pave way for the mining of copper and gold in Wisconsin. Concerns over environmental pollution popped up years ago and it sparked the need to put in place a law barring companies from extracting minerals besides iron. It was in the previous month that the GOP passed the Senate and Assembly and that was without a single Democratic vote. Walker in a recent interview asserted that the Badger State was the only place in the world where it was possible to conduct a safe and environtally sound mining activities.
It was in the course of this year that a number of environmental groups came out strongly in concerted efforts to fight the legislation. According to them, metallic mining was fraught with peril adding that the major concern lay in the fact that the sulfide deposits could end up releasing acidic materials in the waters in a process commonly referred to as mine drainage.
The chairman of the Sierra Club’s mining committee in Wisconsin, Dave Blouin said that repealing the law won’t do anything in to change the fact that metallic sulfide mining was rather unsafe and no unproven industry could back up its claims. It goes without saying that the governor is joining a number of the GOP legislators who support mining associated with immense pollution and damages without showing any concern to a long-term sustainable development for central and northern Wisconsin.
If everything moves according to plan, the law could end up ushering in a new era for mineral mining in Wisconsin which is rich in deposits of zinc, copper, silver and gold. Mining companies have launched their mining operations in a wide array of areas lying in northern Wisconsin. The recent near-ban on non-iron mining became law as of 1998 and the main driving force were the concerns relating to acid mine drainage.
An official familiar with the matter opined, “Until now, the state’s mining moratorium required a mining company to show that another sulfide mine in the United States or Canada operated for at least 10 years and then was closed for 10 years without pollution.”