Jim Doyle, WI Democratic gubernatorial
Governor Doyle interview with Jeff Mayers of Wispolitics.com :
Mayers: Is the Crandon Mine mineral-right buy still alive in your mind?
Doyle: Yes it is. Because I'm quite confident the previous administration never got to a bottom-line dollar figure. In fact, I know they didn't. I'd like to find out what that bottom line is. We know what they said it was. But it was clear that the company didn't believe that to be the final number. And I think the only way you can ever make this decision is to finally get what the dollar figure is, and make a decision ...
Mayers: Well, DOA did go out and get an appraisal, did they not? So you're saying go out and get another appraisal?
Doyle: No, I'm saying go bargain and see what you arrive at.
Mayers: You mean go to the company and say how much is it worth to you?
Doyle: Yeah, and then you got a dollar figure. If that figure's too high, you don't do it. I've certainly not made my decision on whether to do it. I know there's also another way to fund this without any taxpayer money that has not been looked at by this administration at all, which is the board of public lands, which I'm a member of as attorney general. I won't be as governor, but has significant amount of money that they could invest in this, if the board chose to do it -- it'd be up to the board, which is the attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer. No, it isn't taxpayer money at all. So I think there are some options here that were never explored, and I'd be interested in exploring them. Maybe the deal doesn't work in the end. That's fine. Then we'll go from there. But if it does, then I'll do it.
DNR to see big changes with Doyle
12/03/02 Wisconsin State Journal
Ron Seely Environment reporter
Governor-elect Jim Doyle said Tuesday he will appoint a secretary to run the state Department of Natural Resources but added that, if he gets his way, it will be the last time a governor selects someone for the job.
Instead, Doyle said, he will fulfil his campaign promise and remove the position from his cabinet. If he can get the Republican-run state Legislature to agree, Doyle said, he will make it so the Natural Resources Board appoints the secretary. That's the way it worked until former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson made the post a cabinet position in the mid-1990s, a move that critics said politicized the agency.
"My preference is that the secretary be appointed by the board," said Doyle, a Democrat. "It adds a layer of insulation between politics and resource decisions. That's a good thing."
Doyle commented on the secretary's job during an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday. In addition to potential changes at the DNR, Doyle discussed his plans for handling several important environmental issues facing the state, including re-opening negotiations for the state to buy the site of the proposed hard-rock mine near Crandon.
Doyle refused to comment on the fate of current DNR Secretary Darrell Bazzell. Bazzell has proved very popular with staffers within the giant agency. He also has received good marks from the state's environmental organizations as well as outdoor sporting groups, especially for his handling of chronic wasting disease in the state's deer herd.
All Doyle would say is that he intends to appoint new secretaries to most agencies.
"My strong inclination and intent is to bring new cabinet secretaries in," Doyle said. "That's what happens when new governors come in. That's not to say I've made up my mind."
Although Doyle did not name specific candidates, he said he would hope to find a secretary in the mold of the late C.D. "Buzz" Besadny, who headed the agency from 1980 to 1993. Besadny, Doyle said, displayed a total devotion to the state's natural resources, had a deep appreciation for the importance of hunting and fishing in Wisconsin and was tough but even-handed when enforcing environmental regulations.
The changes at the DNR could be extensive. In addition to possibly appointing a new secretary, Doyle will have the opportunity in the next several months to substantially alter the makeup of the seven-member Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the DNR. At least three of the board members have yet to be confirmed, and the terms of two other members will expire in the spring.
Doyle said he would like to name people with diverse backgrounds to the board. Members, he said, should represent not only the outdoor sporting and environmental communities but also business, academics and agriculture.
In addition to these changes, Doyle said he intends to pursue a couple of other environmental initiatives he hammered on during his campaign. He said he will propose to the state Legislature that the Public Intervenor's office be restored. The office, eliminated by Thompson, represented Wisconsin residents on environmental issues.
Also, Doyle said, he will re-open negotiations to buy the land on which Nicolet Minerals wants to build a zinc and copper mine near Crandon in northeastern Wisconsin. He said he would like to have an appraisal of the property soon. Purchase of the land would effectively end the decades-long controversy over the mine.
Tribe flexes influence in Doyle-friendly ads;
Doyle would re-open discussion on purchase of Crandon mine
Doyle for Governor Campaign
Declaring that the Crandon mine issue is �a test of our priorities and our commitment to the environment,� Attorney General Jim Doyle said Sunday he would re-open discussions on public purchase of the mine and look for creative new ways to finance it if he is elected governor.
�Some see the mine as a threat. I see it as a challenge and as an opportunity,� Doyle said. �As governor, I will re-open discussions on purchase of the mine to protect our environment, public health, and the headwaters of the Wolf River.
�It would be a major financial investment. It may turn out, at the end of the day, that it is not feasible. There are many uncertainties.
�But I know one thing for certain. It won�t happen unless we try. It will never happen under a McCallum administration. The governor has already walked away from this issue with no real effort to determine a fair price or negotiate an agreement,� Doyle said.
McCallum has announced his support for the mine, which Doyle described as �not safe to operate under existing Wisconsin laws.�
�I believe purchase of the mine is in the interest of Wisconsin�s long-term environmental and economic security. I believe we should make a real effort to make that happen, and explore every opportunity for financing such a purchase,� Doyle said.
The Stewardship Fund has been the primary funding source for the state to acquire lands. But during tight budget times, Doyle said the state should look for other partners and sources of financing, including the state Board of Public Lands, private interests, non-profit groups, or land trusts.
Doyle said through his work on the Board of Public Land Commissioners, he recognizes the potential to identify innovative ways to preserve beautiful and sensitive land that do not use tax dollars.
The proposed mine is in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas of the state, surrounded by wetlands, lakes and streams that feed the Wolf River, a National Wild and Scenic River. The mining company proposes to use between 5 million and 13 million pounds of cyanide over the proposed 30-year life of the mine. Waste from the mine will be stored untreated on-site in a single lined landfill-like facility that will cover an area larger than 200 football fields.
�Thanks to Scott McCallum, there are no adequate laws in place to protect our water and land from irreversible damage if the Crandon mine project moves forward,� Doyle said.
Last April, Doyle asked McCallum to call a special session of the Legislature to pass two bills that protect Wisconsin�s natural resources from the dangers and hazards of mining. One bill would ban the use of cyanide in mining while the other would eliminate the exemption for mining waste from the state�s hazardous waste law.
�Incredibly, Gov. McCallum�s response was that our mining laws do not need any improvement, because they are among the best in the country,� Doyle said. �They are woefully inadequate.�
�It�s clear that we need a Governor who will put Wisconsin�s environment first,� Doyle said. Passing stronger mining laws and enacting a ban on the use of cyanide in mining would be among his top priorities, he said.
�Scott McCallum has had his chance to show leadership on these issues, and he has failed miserably,� Doyle said. �Wisconsin�s environment and its people deserve better. Wisconsin can protect the environment, grow the state�s economy, and improve the quality of life for the people of Wisconsin. It just takes a governor who is committed to doing it.�
full debate transcript:
Doyle suggests buying mine site
State purchase of Crandon property would protect environment, he says
By NAHAL TOOSI and GREG J. B
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , Oct. 14, 2002
Green Bay - A month after Gov. Scott McCallum ruled out the idea, Democratic candidate for governor Jim Doyle proposed Sunday that Wisconsin reconsider buying the long-disputed Crandon mine site using "creative" financing, a purchase that would stop the mine's development and please environmentalists.
In response, McCallum's top campaign aide, Darrin Schmitz, said taxpayers couldn't afford a state purchase of the land. Schmitz also contended Doyle had gone out of his way in September to say he wasn't advocating that Wisconsin buy the site.
During an appearance in Green Bay, Doyle, the state attorney general, said Wisconsin could use money from trusts controlled by the state Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, as well as entering into partnerships with non-profit groups or private interests to purchase the 5,000-acre parcel.
"I believe purchase of the mine is in the interest of Wisconsin's long-term environmental and economic security," Doyle said. "I believe we should make a real effort to make that happen, and explore every opportunity for financing such a purchase." But Doyle was careful not to promise too much, saying buying the land may turn out to be unfeasible.
"It won't happen unless we try," Doyle said. "It will never happen under a McCallum administration." The issue is a significant one for environmental activists and residents in the Crandon area, east of Rhinelander in northern Wisconsin, where Nicolet Minerals has sought permits since 1994 to extract 55 million tons of ore from a mine.
Nicolet officials contend the project is environment-friendly.
"This is a very safe, well-designed mining project and will have no adverse impact on the environment and will provide much-needed jobs and economic development and diversity for an area of the state that desperately needs it," Dale Alberts, president of Nicolet Minerals, said Sunday, adding that it was premature to comment on Doyle's proposal.
But opponents have called the proposed mine a potential environmental disaster, citing concerns about the use of cyanide at the site and the waste the mine would generate. The mine property is surrounded by wetlands, lakes and streams that lead to the Wolf River.
In June, McCallum, a Republican, said he would consider a proposal by environmental groups and Indian tribes to use public land stewardship money to to buy the property. But in September, his administration rejected pursuing a deal after two appraisals put the value of the property - including mineral rights - at $51.2 million to $94 million.
McCallum was in Grantsburg, in northwestern Wisconsin, on Sunday to attend the dedication ceremony for the new Crex Meadows Wildlife and Visitor Center.
The two campaigns had an earlier dust-up over the Crandon mine issue. In a September interview with an Eau Claire newspaper, McCallum characterized Doyle's position as "the state ought to be making that purchase."
The Doyle campaign responded with a news release quoting campaign director Bill Christofferson saying: "Scott McCallum knows full well that Jim Doyle has never called for purchase of the mine."
Schmitz seized on that earlier position Sunday.
"Jim Doyle doesn't know if he's coming or going," Schmitz said. "He's like a bobble-head doll with his head bobbling up and down and side to side. He doesn't know what he wants."
But Bill Christofferson, Doyle's campaign director, said Sunday that McCallum misstated Doyle's position, which has been that the state should thoroughly investigate the purchasing option. McCallum barely tried to make any deal work, Christofferson said.
When the McCallum administration looked into a state purchase of the mine area, it had considered using the Stewardship Fund, the main resource the state uses to buy land. On Sunday, Doyle cited the state's budget problems and said other funding sources should be considered.
In particular, he supported borrowing money from the public lands board, which manages state-owned lands and controls a number of trust funds. Doyle, along with the secretary of state and state treasurer, is a commissioner on the board, which he said has $150 million to $200 million available.
The board often lends money to municipalities and school districts. Doyle said he did not think that using money from the board would hurt those other entities because they could turn to other sources of funds that offer low-interest rates.
Doyle: State environment deserves better than McCallum
Green Bay News Chronicle
October 14, 2002
The Democratic candidate would re-open discussions on buying the Nicolet Mine propertyBy Michelle Kennedy
Even though Nicolet Minerals has pulled out of the Crandon Mine, pending approval of a mining permit by the Department of Natural Resources, residents of the Wolf River area are still concerned that if the permit is approved waste from the cyanide-laced mine could do irreparable damage to the Wolf River and the surrounding area.
Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate and Attorney General Jim Doyle came to Green Bay Sunday and said that he would re-open discussions on public purchase of the mine and look for creative new ways to finance it if he is elected governor.
"It would be a major financial investment," Doyle said. "It may turn out, at the end of the day, that it is not feasible. There are many uncertainties. But I know one thing for certain, it won't happen unless we try. The governor has already walked away from this issue with no real effort to determine a fair price or negotiate an agreement."
The Stewardship Fund has been the primary source of funding for acquiring land for the state. Doyle said, however, that the state should look into partnering with other sources, including the state Board of Public Lands, in order to finance land purchases.
The proposed Crandon Mine is in one of the most pristine areas in Wisconsin and is surrounded by wetlands. Nicolet Mining Co. has proposed to use between five and 13 million pounds of cyanide over the proposed 30-year life of the mine. Waste would be stored untreated on-site in a single lined landfill-like facility covering an area larger than 200 football fields.
According to the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin, sodium cyanide is "acutely toxic to any living thing." Even small amounts of cyanide can kill fish. For example, "cyanide measured at 20-80 parts per billion can kill rainbow and brown trout. Birds and mammals that drink water or feed on cyanide-poisoned wildlife can be killed at 40-200 parts per million, an amount also fatally toxic to humans.
"Leftover cyanide at very small concentrations has harmed birds and other wildlife which drank mine pond wastewater. Cyanide is a powerful solvent which pulls heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium, chromium, and lead, out of the rock into a dissolved state.
"These toxic metals end up as waste products which need to be dumped. Cyanide can also break down and form complexes with other chemicals or metals, and still remain as toxic. Mixes of cyanide with other metals and chemicals can be just as toxic as cyanide itself, but they are not routinely monitored or carefully regulated."
Last year, Doyle called on McCallum to call a special session of the legislature to pass two bills that would protect Wisconsin's natural resources from mining, one banning the use of cyanide in mining and the other eliminating the exemption for mining waste from the state's hazardous waste law.
"Gov. McCallum's response was that our mining laws do not need any improvement, because they are among the best in the country," Doyle said.
A statement released by the McCallum campaign on Sunday blasted Doyle's proposal to spend money to buy the mine. "Apparently, Jim Doyle is willing to put the state's Stewardship Fund in jeopardy just to get elected," the statement said.
Doyle says he's open to renewing talks on Crandon mine property
By Thomas Rozwadowski
Green Bay Press-Gazette, Oct. 14, 2002
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Doyle announced Sunday that he would re-open discussions on public purchase of the Crandon mine if he is elected governor.
At a news conference in Green Bay, Doyle said the Crandon mine issue is "a test of our priorities and our commitment to the environment." While citing the risk of such a "major financial investment," Doyle said the project was a challenge and opportunity worth exploring thoroughly.
After two appraisals placed the value of the land and mineral rights between $51.2 million and $94 million, Republican Gov. Scott McCallum announced last month that the state wouldn't buy the 5,000-acre mine property because of its expense.
McCallum campaign spokesman Darrin Schmitz reiterated that Sunday.
"Scott McCallum will not abuse taxpayer dollars for paying astronomical prices for the mine," Schmitz said.
Doyle, however, said purchase of the mine is "in the interest of Wisconsin's long-term environmental and economic security."
Through his work on the Board of Public Land Commissioners, Doyle said he recognizes the potential to identify innovative ways to preserve land that do not use tax dollars.
The state's Stewardship Fund, which now totals $241.8 million, is the primary source of funding for recreational and conservation land purchases. However, because of budget concerns, Doyle said the state should look for other partners and sources of financing, including the state Board of Public Lands, private interests, nonprofit groups or land trusts.
"It won't happen unless we try," Doyle said. "It will never happen under a McCallum administration. The governor has already walked away from the issue with no real effort to determine a fair price or negotiate an agreement." Doyle also stressed passing stronger mining laws and enacting a ban on the use of cyanide in mining.
Since 1994, Nicolet Minerals has sought state, local and federal permits to mine 55 million tons of ore from the mine just south of Crandon, near the headwaters of the Wolf River.
The state ordered appraisals of the land after McCallum said in June he would consider a proposal from a coalition of conservation groups and tribal governments for the state to in essence buy out the project.
The state pulled out of the talks with the mining company and its parent company, BHP Billiton of Melbourne, Australia, on Sept. 13, saying the property was too expensive.
Within days of the state's decision, BHP Billiton, which owns Nicolet, said it was closing its office in Crandon and would try to sell the mine project.
Gubernatorial Candidates and Crandon mine
Articles and Statments on proposed Crandon mine site buyout
Wolf River Watershed Protection Purchase falls through
The Wolf River Headwaters Protection Purchase
Cyanide in Mining
Midwest Treaty Network contant page