Depending on which account you read, last week’s DNR hearing on a proposed Northern Wisconsin iron mine may have been a display of overwhelming opposition or a ten-hour trudge that lacked the big crowds some expected.
If most witnesses opposed the project, that would be no surprise; hearings of this sort are primarily a chance for the opposition to have its say. Those who like the idea or don’t care usually find something else to do.
So what’s interesting is not how many witnesses said the same thing, but what kind of thing was said. Of course State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar)—last seen expressing solidarity with the public nuisances otherwise known as the (arrested) Solidarity Singers—was on hand to campaign against an enterprise that would deliver jobs for his constituents.
But for the unparalleled highlight, the spectacle of sanctimonious hypocrisy, we must turn to local resident Allie Raven, as quoted by WisPolitics:
“Don’t let an inexperienced company with an ill-conceived, vague, and scientifically unsupportable plan experiment on and destroy the Bad River Watershed, the most pristine and valuable watershed in the Great Lakes Basin, and the human, animal, and plant life it supports,” said Allie Raven, a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
Ms. Raven should have checked with the Environmental Protection Agency before getting all huffy in front of DNR officials who may also have pretty good information about Bad River water quality issues.
Awkwardly, the EPA picked last week to finally order a cleanup, figuring, we guess, that there’s nothing “vague” or “scientifically unsupportable” about what happens when the Bad River Band pours sewage into Lake Superior.
How ironic, if a mine and the attention it’s attracting turned out to be the watershed’s salvation.