Page 1 of 2 WRITTEN TESTIMONY AB1/SB1 Public Hearing in Madison, Jan.

23, 2013 From: Susan Sommer Date: 1/23/2013 To: Representative Williams and Senator Tiffany Committee on Jobs, Economy and Mining Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining and Revenue I have numerous concerns about AB1/SB1 and today register my testimony in opposition to the bill (iron mining bill). Please consider this document as my written testimony. I was unable to take off from work today to travel to Madison for the public hearing. I come from Phelps, Wisconsin, about 20 minutes north and east of Eagle River, quite close to the border with the Upper Peninsula. I have been studying, researching, writing and speaking about the mining issue facing our State since May 2011. This bill was first released shortly after your 1/16/2013 press conference. The hearing in Madison today on this new bill is inadequate to address the concerns of the citizens throughout our entire state, both in timing and in location. This bill most certainly lessens Wisconsin's strong environmental standards. For example: 1. S. 295.40 (7) of the Legislative Findings states: "That because of the fixed location of ferrous mineral deposits in the state, it is probable that mining those deposits will result in adverse impacts to wetlands and that, therefore, the use of wetlands for bulk sampling and mining activities, including the disposal or storage of mining wastes or materials, or the use of other lands for mining activities that would have a significant adverse impact on wetlands, is presumed to be necessary." 2. The bill redefines "sulfide ore body" so as to exclude ferrous mining from the concerns surrounding the mining, or disturbing of, sulfide ore bodies. See ss. 293.50(1)(b), 293.50 (2), (2)(a), (2)(b). 3. The bill redefines "unsuitability" to exclude archaeological areas and "other lands designated by the DNR." Legis. Council Memo dated 1/14/2013, p. 15. s. 295.41(46) This new definition allows the DNR to grant a mining permit in areas that our current law protects. s. 295.58(2)(a)

Continued on Page 2

Page 2 of 2

4. Under current law, the DNR may or may not grant an exemption from the requirements of the metallic mining law (under specific circumstances). This bill "requires the DNR to grant an exemption if the request is consistent with the purposes of the iron mining statutes, will not violate other environmental laws, and will either not result in significant adverse environmental impacts, or such adverse impacts will be offset through mitigation." Legis. Council Memo dated 1/14/2013, p. 15-16. 5. Current law expressly prohibits the filling in of lake beds. s. 293.13(2)(d)4. This bill eliminates this specific prohibition. Legis. Council Memo dated 1/14/2013, p. 28. 6. The bill modifies the requirements for the applicant's mining plan. For example, the mining company (the applicant) does not have to provide information regarding the nature and depth of the overburden. Legis. Council Memo, 1/14/2013, p. 12. Of great concern is the fact that although the bill retains the standard prohibiting violations of groundwater quality standards in regard to backfilling of excavations, it "removes a standard prohibiting an adverse effect on public health or welfare." Legis. Council Memo, 1/14/2013, p. 12. As a former prosecuting attorney and now a lawyer in private practice, my work has always been about the facts. I do not tolerate exaggeration, misinformation, or obfuscation of the truth. I have seen that happen with politicians as well as with folks representing environmental groups, mining companies, businesses, and special interests. Ultimately, we are all in this together. The Penokee Range is our common ground. The laws of this great State are our common thread. As legislators, you have been elected to represent all of us. You may have run on the ticket of a particular party, but your work now as elected officials is to represent the interests of every citizen in this state. It is incumbent upon you to do your work and to do it well. There is alot more at stake here than rushing through a bill because of some perceived but unproven goal. In Service Susan Sommer 1/23/2013, 4:27 p.m. Phelps, WI 715-891-8318

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful