Monday, January 20, 2014

Iron Mine is Why Walker Wants Foreign Land Sales: China's Buying

Click to enlarge.  Walker wants to pass a new law this year
allowing foreign countries to purchase mammoth tracks of
land in Wisconsin.  This is so that China can purchase
the land and rights to operate a massive open-pit iron ore
mine and potentially derail all legal avenues to stop the
devastation this will create.
We know that creating what could be the largest open-pit iron-ore mine in the world (4 1/2 miles long, 1.5 miles wide and up 1,000 feet deep) to extract taconite, a type of low-grade iron ore, will devastate Wisconsin's pristine northern woods.

All modern U.S. Taconite mines have violations and fines since 2004 (2-page .pdf report).  We know that iron mining in northern Wisconsin threatens human health, complex ecosystems, and their supporting water supplies that reach from upland forest to wetland bogs to Lake Superior. 

Mine operators of a proposed iron ore strip mine will now be able to legally dump over 900 million tons of wastes and tailings into waterways and pristine habitat over the first 35 years of operations.  This will destroy wetlands and streams of the Bad River watershed and likely result in the same acid mine drainage that has resulted in fish advisories for mercury and a wild rice dead zone for 100 miles downstream from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range in the St. Louis River watershed.

We know that there is virtually no public support for this scheme -- especially in Northern Wisconsin. It appears that Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams lied when his company created the recent mining bill (now law) when he said his mining record in Spain was spotless.  In fact, Williams is a wanted man in Spain and is unsuccessfully fighting serious criminal charges.

So why does Gogebic want this project -- they don't -- China wants that mine.  Expect them to purchase the land and rights to construct it as soon as Walker and his GOP cronies pass a law to allow this to happen.  

When Wisconsin republicans rammed the mining bill written by Gogebic through the legislature, the Feds warned them that Walker and local authorities could not change federal safeguards and approval processes -- they went ahead anyhow.  So recently, federal regulators have reiterated that they will approach their own role for the project on a separate, more careful, and slower track.

But everyone involved knew this was coming.

And then consider this complexity -- the Department of Natural Resources has found asbestos mineral fibers in a rock sample at the site of a proposed iron ore mine.

But there is no reason Bill Williams and Gogebic care -- they are not going to build the mine.

The last in-state group that has a chance to derail this terrible injustice and ecological terrorism is the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.  As a sovereign nation under U.S. government treaties, the tribe will ask the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the reservation's own water quality standards.  The tribe also has a binding federal treaty, signed in 1837, that the State of Wisconsin must consult the tribe about actions affecting its hunting and fishing rights.

But when Walker signs a new law invaliding the Badger State's 127-year ban on foreign ownership of more than 640 acres of Wisconsin land, enter China.

China, flush with U.S. dollars from years of massive trade imbalances is on an unprecedented buying spree and is purchasing iron ore mines including huge operations in Malaysia and Africa and Australia.  All forecasts are that the near-term will see a global glut of iron ore on the market -- its a buyer's market -- and China is buying big time.

Scott Walker and his multinational corporate backers want to sell to them.  Gogebic wants to sell their interests too -- they cannot actually safely run this mine and Bill Williams knows it.  But they can make boatloads of money by selling to China.

And this is why Scott Walker wants to make the sale legal -- remember -- you heard it hear first!


  1. Where is the anti-communist right on this issue???

  2. Where is the anti-communist right on this issue???

  3. China sells metal and weapons to N. Korea and Iran. Where are the fake Patriots?

  4. AND- if the TPP passes, there will be nothing we or Bad River can do to stop it.

  5. And china will get the1st born child of every family to work the mine

  6. No one lives there, it will bring jobs to Wisconsin, so who cares. You idiots are unbelievable, you scream about not enough jobs, the man goes out to create new ones and all you do is whine. Maybe you should get some crackers and have a snack.

  7. To create new jobs, Timothy Benton? At what cost? Open your fucking eyes. People do live up there, many of which are farmers that produce crops for the general Wisconsin population. And who cares if nobody lives in the woods. Deforestation is as devastating to the environment there as it would be anywhere. We Wisconsinites were here first. Why should one man have the power to take that away from us? Do some research before you spout ignorance. Scott Walker is a prick, and I hope he rots in prison forever.