This latest article adds more excitement for lots of jobs and big bucks for Wisconsin. This article is based on a study by NorthStar Economics, Inc located in Madison, WI. Read the WSJ article and then check out NorthStar Economics Inc. website. The full
Gtac and NorthStar with the help of the Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) have raised the ante considerably and are attempting to tout the GTac proposal as the greatest offer since sliced bread! What started out as a tangled web or companies and people who want to dig up the Penokees has become the panacea for Wisconsin's economy. $50,000 a year jobs have grown to $85,000 a year jobs. Tax revenue to feed the Madison politicians is now estimated at over $20,000,000. And the number jobs are now in the thousands. The economic impact is expected to reach over 12 counties in Wisconsin and Michigan. NorthStar President, David J. Ward, tells us we are the poorest area in the state and the mine would be a game changer. Bill Williams, GTac President, tells us people are stopping in his Hurley office telling him they want the mine tomorrow. NorthStar's analysis of the economy and the promise of great wealth, articles in the WSJ, support from the Ashland Area Economic Development Corporation, and the promise of millions in tax dollars are on the table. What about the nagging concern of negative impacts on the wetlands. How long before we will be told that only a few streams and small areas of wetlands will be sacrificed for the greater good provided by the promise of lots of money?
WE believe the next big sell will be to speed up the permitting process. The political climate in Madison is ripe for any activities that will infuse money into the Wisconsin economy. This may is a worthy goal, the question is at what expense? Mining supporters do not want wait for five to seven years needed to complete the work that will address the protection for our wetlands. The mining interests are pushing hard and apparently do not want to detail the specific steps that will be needed to protect the streams and wetlands.
Our expectation is zero discharge. Obviously, it is easier for Gtac and their friends to talk about big bucks for jobs, tax revenue, and how mining would be a "game changer". Seems that in the end, this is a game - a word game that talks about what might happen, what could happen, and a few other well chosen words that leave many of us unconvinced that water, wetlands, and the ecosystem are seen only as problems not as the gifts that enhance our ecosystem. Instead wetlands and the clean waters are just barriers to immense wealth and prosperity. It is just a sad set of circumstances that allow a few people to make promises and at the same time paint an extensive environmental impact study as the potential problem. NorthStar, Gtac, and our own tax supported economic development corporation need to slow down and quit with the ever-expanding economic rewards that are within our grasp at the potential expense of some wetlands and maybe a few streams.