Holiday Survival Tips For River Rats
The holidays can be a stressful time for river rats, what with all of the innocence and joy. Fortunately our resident Rat is willing to part with a few of his best strategies for surviving the holidays...
Ignore the old adage to avoid talking about politics during holiday gatherings. You're a River Rat, you love nothing better than a good heated debate. Besides, Uncle Louie probably won't remember a thing after his fourth eggnog of the night.
Suggest that you sing, to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," refrains from the mining bill, e.g., "In the third year of mining, the legislature gave to me, one open pit mine, two buried wetlands, three messed up rivers...." You get the idea.
Forgo bathing at least four days prior to seeing your family. You want to make it clear how deeply committed you are to conserving water, and this is an excellent strategy for avoiding all that obnoxious hugging.
In lieu of gifts, make a donation to the River Alliance of Wisconsin. This will please everyone on your list and will help make up for any offenses your other behaviors may have caused.
River Alliance Statement on Mining
Several mineral deposits have been discovered all across Wisconsin, including frac sands, iron, zinc, copper, gold, nickel and silver deposits, many of them within the basins of important Wisconsin rivers. In the wake of a very recent proposal to mine for iron ore in the Bad River watershed of Ashland County, in northern Wisconsin, have come proposals to revisit current mining law, and to reopen regulations that govern how land is managed in and around Wisconsin's waters, including wetlands.
These changes could weaken good, long-standing laws governing mining and regulating land development on or near the state's waters. Wisconsin's mining laws have been on the books for decades and were developed with the mining industry at the table. The laws' essential premise is that if mining can be done responsibly and meets basic environmental requirements, a mining permit will be issued. New mining techniques should easily meet these standards. Weakening the law will likely mean mines will be built at great expense to Wisconsin's environment.
The economic benefits of mining must be weighed against more sustainable and less ecologically disruptive economic activity. The existing law, which allows mining while safeguarding against long-term, irreparable harm to our resources and to the sustainable economic activities they support (e.g. tourism, forestry, food production, biomass energy production), strikes the appropriate balance.
In addition to weakening mining regulations is a proposal to change rules regulating wetlands and land development near water. These rule changes will make it easier to mine, but they would also corrupt the resource protection these rules provide. These proposed changes threaten rivers and lakes all across the state from all kinds of activities, not just mining. Those rules were revised just five years ago with bipartisan agreement and considerable compromise between conservation and development interests. They too should be left alone.
River Alliance Position on Mining
The River Alliance of Wisconsin does not oppose mining that would follow current environmental regulations. But we oppose any changes to current laws and regulations that cut out public involvement, including limiting citizen suits and contested case hearings. These changes, coupled with attempts to weaken other water regulations, will both hasten mining and destroy river banks, lake shores and wetlands all across the state.
In addition to dispensing valuable advice on surviving the holidays, Rat has been contemplating ongoing threats to his beloved rivers...
KO'd by CAFOs
Rat takes a look at the growing (and we mean GROWING) threat from Confined Animal Feeding Operations. He notes that as dairy farms got big and broke through the CAFO sound barrier, they housed around 1,000, maybe 2,000 cows tops. That's been the case for years until another sound barrier was broken, to where 5,000, 7,000, even 10,000-cow dairy operations are starting to appear...(continue reading)
Stinky Process, Stinky Bill
Rat snuck into the December 14 Assembly Committee on Jobs, Small Business and the Economy hearing on their fit-for-the-garbage-pail (and I don't mean that in a good way) mining bill. Held in Milwaukee so the suits at Caterpillar, one of the biggest manufacturers of mining equipment in the world, could claim that jobs would be saved in Milwaukee if a big strip mine is allowed in northern Wisconsin, the committee's ploy ended up biting them in the behind... (continue reading)
River Alliance newsletter
Learn about the fascinating history, industry and culture of one of Wisconsin's busiest rivers.
Fifth Annual River Alliance Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 7 PM
(Details and Ticket Sales TBA)