Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters: Unprecedented television advertising campaign opposing open pit mining bill unveiled

For immediate release: January 25, 2012
Contact: Anne Sayers, Program Director, 608-208-1129 (direct),
608-658-0186 (cell) , [email protected]

Madison- Today, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters unveiled their first television advertising campaign opposing the open pit mining bill, AB 426. The advertisement emphasizes the human health consequences of weakening Wisconsin’s current conservation laws. It is running statewide and encourages citizens to contact their Senators to oppose the bill.

“If given the choice between a clean glass of water to drink or one that is potentially contaminated with arsenic, lead and mercury, I’m going to choose the clean one. But the real point here is that Wisconsinites shouldn’t have to choose. We all have a right to clean, safe drinking water,” said Kerry Schumann, Executive Director of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

The act of mining and processing the iron from the mines before it is shipped can expose local communities to toxic chemicals like arsenic, lead, and mercury:

• While arsenic and lead are naturally-occurring substances, they are disturbed by the aggressive misplacement of earth in the mining process. The result is that lead and arsenic can find their way into surface and groundwater, including drinking water.

• Arsenic has been linked to kidney, liver, lung and bladder cancer.

• Lead is especially harmful to children because their bodies absorb more lead and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to lead, which can lead to learning and behavior problems and slowed growth.

• Mining is the largest source of mercury in the Lake Superior Basin. The iron dust that is the result of the mining process is baked into tiny pellets to make the iron easier to transport and taconite plants require huge amounts of energy and thus release a large amount of mercury. Exposure to mercury can lead to developmental problems in fetuses, infants, and children.

• For a fact sheet explaining how mining relates to arsenic, lead, and mercury and the corresponding health threats, please visit: http://conservationvoters.org/images/pdf/20120124glassfactsheet.pdf

“We are taking this unprecedented step because this bill is bad enough to warrant it. If passed, the open pit mining bill would jeopardize the health of Wisconsin families for the profit of an out-of-state mining company,” concluded Schumann.

AB 426 passed the Assembly Jobs Committee on a party line vote on Tuesday. The full Assembly is expected to vote on the measure Thursday.

To view the ad, please visit: https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/273/donate.asp?formid=specdon

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin’s public health and natural resources.