Mining Bill Still Poses Too Great a Threat to Water

The Nature Conservancy urges the Assembly to vote no on AB 426

Madison, WI | January 26, 2012

The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin is calling on the State Assembly to vote against AB 426 on the floor today due to the risk it poses to Wisconsin waters.

Current science tells us that knowing where the water is flowing above and below ground is critical to protecting our public health and our environment. This bill significantly limits the amount of time the Department of Natural Resources has to study the effects mining will have on our water resources.

“Studying the water on a large or complicated project takes a minimum of two years of field testing,” said Matt Dallman, Northern Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy. “By limiting the State’s time to complete its work to 365 days we have removed their ability to understand the site’s hydrology and provide safeguards for our drinking water and our rivers.”

This information is particularly important in an area like the Penokee Range. The proposed mine sits on or above some of Wisconsin’s richest water resources and the drinking water supplies of Ashland, Mellen, Highbridge, Marengo, Odanah and Upson. If done incorrectly, pollution from this site could endanger 8 rivers that are designated Exceptional or Outstanding Resource Waters, sturgeon breeding grounds in the Bad River, and the globally significant wetlands in the Kakagon Sloughs.

Removing protections for wetlands, reducing setbacks for waste piles, and weakening groundwater standards will only exacerbate the risks that are being placed on local citizens and the environment.

“Without good scientific studies on the impacts to water it will be impossible for local citizens, the State of Wisconsin, and the mining company to make the right decisions in protecting our resources,” said Dallman.

The Nature Conservancy on behalf of its 20,000 members in Wisconsin urges the Assembly to vote no today on AB 426.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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Casey Eggleston

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