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‘A dedicated public servant’

May 05, 2020

To the Editor:

Tom Tiffany is a notoriously dishonest politician. When he runs for office, he portrays himself as a populist, property rights advocate, who cares about the environment, and is just looking out for the little guy. But, as soon as he is elected, he right away, goes to work for big money special interests, and he does it at the expense of our water resources and local control.

 Does anyone remember when Sen. Tiffany’s number one priority was an Iron Mine in the Penokee Hills? His dream was to create a low-cost producer of iron ore, by leveling the Penokee Hills and filling in the headwaters of the Bad River with the waste material. He “authored” a new law, largely written by the mining company. After repeatedly lying about the law, Sen. Tiffany, admitted that the law was deliberately designed to allow damage to Wisconsin’s natural resources. Undoubtedly, Sen. Tiffany thought his legacy would be an iron mine in the Penokee Hills. Instead, his name will be forever stamped all over one of the most corrupt and destructive chapters in Wisconsin’s history.

One of Tom Tiffany’s political trademarks is to limit or eliminate local control, on behalf of mining interests and real estate developers. He hasn’t always been successful. He twice tried, and failed, to restrict local control over frac sand mining, because of the opposition received from the Towns during the public hearings. He realized that the way to destroy local control was to make sure that the next law never got a fair public hearing by burying it in a budget bill. Because of his efforts, counties across the north were forced to spend an enormous amount of time and resources rewriting their ordinances so that real estate developers could chop, even the tiniest of our lakes into 100-foot lots.

Most recently Sen. Tiffany’s dream came true when he was able to repeal the popular Mining Moratorium Law. The law was not a real moratorium, but contained the “prove it first” provision that required the applicant to show that a sulfide mine operated and closed for a few years without polluting the environment. The law also weakened environmental and economic protections, and restricted public process. There have already been serious repercussions from this law because counties were threatened into removing protections from their mining ordinances. In Oneida County, metallic mining was allowed as a permitted use in areas zoned 1-A Forestry, where the Lynne Deposit is located, and in areas zoned General Use, where Badger Minerals is exploring three small deposits at the headwaters of the Wolf River.

However, Sen. Tiffany did not receive the “public license” for his scheme to turn the Northwoods into a mining district, when more than 62% of voters in Oneida County voted no to a mine in the Town of Lynne, just upstream of the Willow Flowage, and counties, the Sokaogan Chippewa, and the Menominee Nation, are mobilizing to fight a sulfide mine in the Town of Schoepke near the Wolf River, with Langlade County just downstream, passing a resolution opposing it.

If Tom Tiffany goes to Washington, he will continue to cater to big money special interests at the expense of those who live and work here, and at the expense of our water resources.

When Tricia Zunker goes to Washington, she will be a dedicated public servant and truly represent the people of northern Wisconsin.

Karl A. Fate




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