MADISON, Wis. — Legislation being fast-tracked by Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled state legislature to roll back environmental standards for a massive open pit mine in Northern Wisconsin was, according to drafting records obtained by One Wisconsin Now, extensively modified at the behest of the out-of-state company seeking to open the mine.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Millions of dollars in special interest campaign cash bought the mining company a sneak peak of the open pit mining bill and the ability to tell compliant legislators what changes to the bill to best suit themselves.”
According to recent media reports, organizations supporting the open pit mining bill have doled out in excess of $15.5 million in campaign contributions to Gov. Walker and Republican legislators over two years.
Drafting records for the open pit mining legislation (accessible here and here) Assembly Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1, obtained by One Wisconsin Now reveal that a preliminary draft of the legislation was shared with the mining company, weeks before being made available to the general public. A series of seven e-mails entitled “GTAC requests” contain numerous changes to the bill suggested by the company, many of which appear to have been made by the legislative leadership in charge of drafting the bill.
Ross commented, “The Republican legislature limited public testimony on the bill at the single hearing they were willing to have and the ostensible legislative authors have refused to publicly answer questions. Yet records show Gov. Walker and Republican legislators gave special access to the mining company.
He concluded, “The drafting records and their actions demonstrate they’re more interested in fattening their campaign accounts and serving the interests of an out-of-state mining company than protecting the people of Wisconsin and our clean air and water.”