My buddy Graham was on the front page of the Daily Press today and had some things to say about GTAC. Excerpted from the article by Rick Olivo:
Garfield said growing up in the Penokees he was naturally concerned with plans by Gogebic Taconite to mine iron ore in the area. He said the first thing he asked was if mining could be done responsibly.
“Will it create jobs for the community that will really benefit the community? And will they be able to do it without harming the environment?” he asked. “So far what has happened with GTAC deciding to move on changing our state law by asking our state Republican government to change state law to make it easy to permit this mine has shown that they are not committed to putting the time and work into making this a low environmental impact mine and putting in the work that they need to do.”
Garfield said the legislature basically removed any provisions that could have helped northern Wisconsin such as the tonnage tax amendment and eliminated an amendment that would have required hiring Wisconsin workers.
“Actions like that made me realize that there isn’t necessarily going to be any Wisconsinites employed in the mine if it does happen,” he said. “There isn’t going to be a tonnage tax to support local roadways and there is no guarantee for any kind of environmental protection, and since then, geologists have said the way the iron ore is deposited, it isn’t even a feasible mining site. The only way they are going to make money off of it is if they are able to get away from it with the profit before the cost of the cleanup comes after them.”
Gardield accused GTAC of being a “shell corporation” designed to deflect responsibility for cleanup from the parent Cline Group.
“At this point, the way everything has been approached, although I wanted there to be a potential for good jobs in the region, there isn’t even a guarantee of jobs and there is a potential for a major disaster in terns of our environmental resources.”
Garfield also said the current approach ignores tribal sovereignty.
“GTAC is not willing to work with the tribes of northern Wisconsin,” he said. “They are certainly not interested in upholding treaty rights, and treaty rights are the law. We need to stand up for northern Wisconsin. The way this has been approached, the way it has been worked on, this mining project is only going to hurt northern Wisconsin, and they are taking our rights away in state government.”
Garfield said he would be a strong advocate for the interests of northwestern Wisconsin.
“I will go to Madison and make sure our region is heard,” he said. “Even if we are in a minority, in terms of the Democratic Party in the assembly, I will be a very vocal individual and make sure that Republicans and Democrats hear what is affecting northern Wisconsin,” he said.