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Fringe Environmental Group Uses Dark Money to Attack Dark Money, Mislead Public on Mining

Madison – In a twist of political irony, an extremist environmental group is using so-called “dark money” to attack other “dark money” spending. The group is also attacking Governor Walker and an industry poised to create thousands of high-paying jobs in Wisconsin by falsely claiming that Wisconsin’s Iron Mine Permitting Law (2013 Act 1) risks contaminating drinking water.
Unlike the murky claims in the negative attack ad, the facts of Act 1 are clear:

  • Fact: Act 1 prohibits the Department of Natural Resources from issuing a permit to a mining company unless it can meet all state and federal water quality standards.
  • Fact: Act 1 did not change Wisconsin’s robust surface water or drinking water protection standards, some of which are more stringent than federal law.
  • Fact: Act 1 requires constant water quality monitoring to ensure compliance with Wisconsin’s stringent standards, and holds mining companies forever liable if an environmental release would ever occur.

“This ad is the continuation of a failed campaign of misinformation, distortions, and outright fear mongering by anti-mining activists,” said Eric Bott, Director of Environmental and Energy Policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. “Protecting water quality is a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s iron mining law.”
Despite the efforts of anti-mining activists, iron mining retains broad public support in Wisconsin. A statewide poll conducted by the Tarrance Group in July found nearly 3-to-1 support for the mine, with 65% of Wisconsinites supporting it, and only 22% opposed. The same survey found 64% of Wisconsinites believe the mine can operate while safely protecting the environment.
The fact that Wisconsin’s voting electorate supports iron mining should come as no surprise considering the positive economic impact it could have on the state.
A study by NorthStar Economics found that construction of a $1.5 billion iron mine would result in the creation of 2,200 construction jobs and between 700 and 1,400 full time workers once the mine is operational.
Total compensation (including benefits) for these workers is expected to exceed $82,000 per year in one of the most economically depressed regions of the state.  Iron County has the second highest unemployment rate in Wisconsin (9.7%) and median household income is just $34,201.
“Voters recognize that bringing mining back to the Badger State means thousands of generational jobs for hard working families in the North,” said Bott. “And with Wisconsin remaining an international leader in the manufacturing of mining equipment, this project could mean work for folks from Green Bay to Milwaukee and beyond.”
The ad was paid for by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, a group whose national parent organization recently came under fire in a United States Senate Committee Report for accepting massive undisclosed foreign contributions funneled through a California non-profit.
Based on information from IRS 990 forms, the League’s Voter Education Fund took in $10.7 million in 2010-11 alone from a group that receives over 30% of its funding from Klein Ltd., a shadowy Bermuda based company. Click here to view the full U.S. Senate Report.
“These radical groups and their shadowy donors will stop at nothing to prevent America from utilizing its abundance of domestic natural resources,” said Bott. “The sad truth is that if they’re successful, it’s the families looking for work in Northern Wisconsin that will pay the price.”
For More Information Contact:
Eric Bott, WMC, (608) 258-3400





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