Need to Think Through Wisconsin Mining

Jerry DavisIn trying to write a clever quip for a cartoon contest featuring mining in Wisconsin, it occurred how contradictory and how “live for today” those dealing with this issue have become.

Anything that disturbs the earth and environment as much as mining does needs to be thought through thoroughly.

Some “talking heads” are trying to sell the idea of improving the mining climate in Wisconsin as an industry that will create jobs.  Okay, so far.

But at the same time these same individuals tout Wisconsin’s tourist industry, particularly in northern Wisconsin.

Another group holds tight that mining of the type being proposed and supported by a bill would do great and permanent harm to the environment unless extreme care is taken and some of the “what if” answers are thought through.

Mining is a touchy, long term issue, as most environmental issues usually are.  In some cases, we cannot go back for a do-over if we get it wrong the first time.  We cannot undo many environmental changes.

While some issues are black or white, not gray, and a compromise would not be an answer, in this case I believe compromise is the only answer.  At least the only answer other than to not permit mining.

While it may be true that without some type of change in Wisconsin’s mining regulations, mining is dead in the water.  With a bill that basically disregards environmental issues, tourism, and many forms of outdoors recreation, is also going to be floating in a quagmire of toxic soup.

If possible, this issue needs to be settled on a sliding scale, where scientists can ask computer programs to push a weight along a bar as far as possible and see what happens if one goes too far.

So please practice mining in the laboratory first.  That way we can continue to reset the balance and start over, and try again, if we get it wrong the first time.

If we go too extreme, we may have a few mining jobs for a short term and after 50 years no mining jobs, and no tourism, either.

In other words, we should not spend the principle if we plan to live on the interest in the long run.

Categories: Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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