If anyone needs a reminder of what is wrong — really, really wrong — with letting corporations call all the shots in the governing of Wisconsin, consider the proposal by two Republican legislators to close the forest around the planned Gogebic Taconite mine in northern Wisconsin.
Gogebic, an out-of-state corporation, is determined to develop a mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior.
The forest surrounding the mine site is enrolled in a state Department of Natural Resources managed forest program that ensures access for hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing and sightseeing. But some of those hikers, sporting enthusiasts and birdwatchers might also be conservationists who worry that the massive mining project might harm one of the most beautiful regions in northern Wisconsin, so Gogebic has brought armed paramilitary units into the region.
And now, two legislators who are more concerned with caring for corporations than with serving citizens — state Sens. Glenn Grothman and Tom Tiffany — want to allow Gogebic to bar recreational use of up to 4,000 acres around the site.
The Grothman/Tiffany proposal insults Wisconsin’s outdoor traditions and values. Yet it is moving ahead in the Legislature. The Senate’s mining committee has scheduled a public hearing on the measure for Wednesday.
Wisconsinites should attend the hearing and deliver a message: Legislators are supposed to represent the citizens who elect them — not the corporations that throw campaign cash and lobbying muscle around in the Capitol.
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