News on the Scott Walker front marches on! The Federal Government has ordered Walker to lift his ban on Family Care for the elderly and disabled. His attempt to spin the incident in his favor failed horribly when word leaked that the ban lifting was not his choice. Next, a new challenge to Walker's controversial union busting law has been filed thanks to newly uncovered information that indicates Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Gableman received free legal services from a certain law firm which created a conflict of interest in the original case. The Justice did not recuse himself or disclose the conflict of interest. (I hereby disclose that I used to work for this law firm and I really did like most of the people I worked with!) Despite harassment, volunteers are still braving the weather and heightened emotions to collect recall signatures.
Aside from being booed by citizens wherever he goes, I wonder if Walker thinks his new year will be better than his Christmas.
On the Penokee Mine issue front, there will be:
a potluck social on January 6, 2012 at the Community Center in Odanah beginning at 6:30 p.m. and
a PUBLIC HEARING on January 11, 2012 at the Hurley Inn in Hurley from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.;
Assembly Bill 426. This is the third mining bill submitted to the legislature. A fourth attempt is due out shortly. Here is an article about who wrote the bill. Here is an article from The Nature Conservancy summarizing some of what is at risk.
While I strongly support the environmental issues at stake, my primary interest is the welfare of the people in the region and our Northwoods communities. I have yet to see anything that guarantees that most of the mining money goes to Northwoods communities; that the environment will be satisfactorially (as determined by the people of the affected communities) cared for; that individuals and communities will have timely redress for grievances against the company; that should Gogebic Taconite cease mining operations for any reason before the agreed contract date all affected communities will be reimbursed for all expenses incurred for the benefit of the mine operation; that Gogebic Taconite is prohibited from selling any portion of the business other than mineral ore to China or other foreign owned or operated interests whether direct or indirect of any kind; that mineral rights are retained by the people of the state of Wisconsin; that when the mine ceases operation ALL environmental rehabilitation will be paid for by the company; that NO tax incentives of any kind whether direct or indirect are granted to Gogebic Taconite. The days of citizens subsidizing corporate interests are over. It's time for people to stand up and say, "NO," to corporate greed. If Gogebic Taconite want to mine in Wisconsin, they may do so on terms dictated by the PEOPLE of Wisconsin.
Here is one last story you may find of interest regarding global mining issues.