Places Archives: United States » Wisconsin

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The Corporate Rot Eats Away at Wisconsin

from The Progressive

The corporate coup d’etat in Wisconsin is harder to ignore since June 5 when Scott Walker was deemed winner of the recall election. The veil is being lifted on the identities of the people who have their hands on the levers of power in the state and the economic interests they represent.

Gogebic Taconite is a case in point. This week, Matt Rothschild broke the story revealing dissension within the ranks of the mining lobby. James Buchen, the Vice President of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, took the Wisconsin Mining Association (of which Buchen himself is a board member) and its executive director, Kennan Wood, to task for working on a compromise mining bill with Democrats in the legislature after the one written by and for Gogebic Taconite failed to pass the state senate earlier this year.

The letter offers a rare glimpse of the inner workings of corporate influence in Wisconsin politics and illustrates several points:

1) That lobbyists and the businesses that pay their salaries believe they control the legislative process;

2) That consolidation of power within a certain corporate faction – namely the defense manufacturing and resource-extractive industries – is nearly complete. Total domination of the state apparatus only requires two more senate seats;

3) That even the people promoting the Gogebic Taconite project themselves realize that it is not viable unless extraordinary de-regulatory measures are taken to subsidize it; and

4) That they believe the very purpose of the legislative process is to do the bidding of wealthy corporations. Continue reading

DNR Backed Off Violations

May 10, 2012

 

It appears influence peddling is alive and well in Wisconsin.  See the article below about one of the Governor Walker’s top appointed officials at the WDNR stepping in to let a polluter off the hook for over $37,000 in fines.

Governor Walker has praised his appointees’ approach, stating that, “increasing compliance and decreasing the number of… violations is a good thing for Wisconsin’s valuable natural resources…[and] our economy…”

Milwaukee Riverkeeper disagrees, believing if we are to deter future violations (a good thing even according to Governor Walker), then penalties must be sufficiently large to punish the polluter.  For more information see the article below.

Continue reading

Sand mining for fracking industry devastating Wisconsin farms and woodlands

from http://www.ecowatch.org/

By Pilar Gerasimo
The recent boom in hydrofracking for natural gas and oil has resulted in a little-reported side boom—a sand-rush in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, where we just happen to have the nation’s
richest, most accessible supply of the high-quality silica sand required for fracking operations.
Image by Jim Tittle

Unfortunately, most of that silica sand lies beneath our beautiful wooded hills and fertile farmland, and within agricultural and residential communities, all of which are now being ripped apart by sand mines interests eager to get at the riches below. This open pit mining is, in many respects, similar to the mountaintop removal going on in Appalachian coal country—except that here, it’s hilltop and farm field removal. The net effect on our landscape, natural resources and communities is quickly becoming devastating. In the past few months, the sand rush has come to my own rural neighborhood in Dunn County, Wisconsin, which is about an hour east of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Like many residents in Dunn County, I’m concerned about the speed and intensity with which frac-sand mining interests are moving into our area. The proposals and applications for mines and related infrastructure are coming in so fast (our region has seen dozens just in the past few months), most small towns have been totally overwhelmed. Organizations trying to map and report all the activity literally cannot keep up with the incoming data.

Continue reading

From Endangered To Problem: Wisconsin Wolf Hunt To Begin Next Week, Minnesota Set To Host Its Own Hunt

from the Earth First! Journal Editorial Collective

Following the removal of wolves from the federal endangered species list last month, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced that some residents will be able to hunt “problem” wolves by next week.  In little over a month the grey wolf’s designation in Wisconsin has moved from endangered to problem. The demonization and execution of the species is set to follow because of the risk wolves pose to the “property” of large landowners.

Permits will be issued starting Friday for landowners who claim that wolves have killed their livestock.

Also on Friday, residents will be allowed to shoot, without a permit, any wolf attacking personal property.

It is anticipated that any property owner killing a wild wolf for attacking their personal property will be visited by bipedel friends of the wolves in the night and their personal property will be further and more completely destroyed in retaliation.

Minnesota has also promised a wolf hunt, although nothing is set up.

Gray Wolfs Delisted in Midwest, Wolf Kills to Begin Soon

from https://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that it was removing Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and portions of adjoining states.

After the announcement, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to implement a state wolf management plan.

Wolves – which can travel up to 30 miles a day – have reached a population of about 800 in Wisconsin. That exceeds the state’s goal of 350. There are now more than 4,000 wolves in the Midwest. The region, once considered a bastion of wolf reintroduction and protection, may soon witness aerial wolf hunts and wolf seasons akin to the US West.

Under the state management plan, the DNR or those acting on its behalf will be able to kill “problem wolves.”

The Center for Biological Diversity said the decision was premature, and contended that wolves remained threatened by disease and human persecution. It criticized Minnesota for using a bounty system to kill problem wolves, and said there should be less emphasis on lethal controls. The group said it supports the government’s conclusion to retain protections for wolves in the Northeast.

As wolf numbers soared in recent years, the wolf became a lightning rod of controversy. Motorists bought Wisconsin license plates with its iconic image, but some deer hunters blamed wolves for reducing the deer population in parts of the north. At least seven wolves are believed to have been killed during the 2011 deer hunting season.

Despite their prevalence today, wolves were wiped off the state’s landscape between 1960 and 1974. In the mid-1970s, they began to migrate from Minnesota.