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Ban Cyanide at Crandon Mine News Articles
Background: in Wisconsin United States Outside the U.S.

 

23% Say They Are Less Likely
to Vacation
in Northern Wisconsin
if Crandon Mine Opens



23% Say They Are Less Likely to Vacation in Northern
Wisconsin if Crandon Mine Opens

Recent poll indicates proposed Crandon Mine threatens more than 1600 jobs
and millions in area revenues from tourism

Contacts:
Dave Blouin, 608-233-8455
Bill Ahrens, 715-275-3679
Herb Buettner, 715-882-8610

September 17, 2003

        Opening the proposed Crandon mine at the headwaters of the Wolf River could cost that area of Northern Wisconsin more than 23% of its in-state vacationers, according to a new statewide poll.

        "A 23% decline in tourism would cost 1,650 tourism jobs and $65 million in revenues in the three counties surrounding the mine, devastating the area economy," said Bill Ahrens, Executive Director of the Northwoods Economic Development Project. "The proposed mine would create only a fraction of the jobs it puts at risk. In addition, mining waste would threaten the area forever, but a study done for former Governor McCallum said any mining jobs would end in only 17 years."

        "The mine would provide only 200 jobs according to April 2003 media statements by its latest owner," said Herb Buettner, owner of the Wild Wolf Inn, White Lake, WI. "The travel industry provides more than 7,000 jobs in just the three counties surrounding the proposed mine site. It's inconceivable that a state and a region working to boost their economies would even consider a risky proposal like the Crandon mine."

        The poll, conducted by Chamberlain Research, asked the following question of 600 Wisconsin residents, with a margin of error of � 3.97%:

If the Crandon mine receives a permit and begins operations, would that make you less likely to vacation in that area of Northern Wisconsin?

        More than 23% said yes, while 64% said no, and 12% said they did not know or had no opinion. The region most concerned was Madison, with more than 35% of people from that area saying they would be less likely to vacation in the area. The 8th Congressional District in Northeastern Wisconsin had 28% say they were less likely to vacation in the area.

        According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, tourists spent more than $283 million last year in Forest, Langlade and Oneida Counties, the three counties surrounding the proposed mine site. More than $43.6 million of that revenue went to state and local governments.

        The proposed site of the mine operations and waste dump is at the headwaters of the Wolf River. The Wolf flows through the counties of Forest, Langlade, Menominee, Shawano, Waupaca, and Winnebago. A mining accident or spill could jeopardize tourism all along the river. These six counties account for 14,000 tourism jobs and $478 million in tourism expenditures - all at risk from the proposed mine.

        "It's the unspoiled waters and forests of Northern Wisconsin that bring vacationers to the area. Why put our economic lifeblood at risk for the short-term and uncertain claimed benefits of a mine?" Buettner asked. "Wisconsin should be focused on growing our tourism economy, not burying our future in a risky mine and mining waste site."

        "The legislature will be considering many bills to strengthen economic development this fall," said Dave Blouin, Sierra Club. "But it is important to remember to protect what we already have and not threaten existing and future jobs in northern Wisconsin with unsafe mining proposals. Bills to ban cyanide for mining and close loopholes for mining wastes are awaiting hearings. These bills will help safeguard northern Wisconsin's economy by strengthening environmental protection."

        Assembly Bill 91, introduced by Rep. Spencer Black, (D-Madison) would ban the use of cyanide in Wisconsin mines. Assembly Bill 420, introduced by Rep. Terri McCormick (R-Appleton), and Senate Bill 157, introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) would halt special treatment of mining wastes in current state environmental laws.

        The "No Special Treatment" Bill (AB 420, SB 157) was also the subject of polling this summer. The results were released in August and indicate that 91% of Wisconsin residents polled believe that state lawmakers should close loopholes for mining wastes.

 

FACT SHEET ON TOURISM IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Data from
"The Economic Impact of Expenditures by Travelers on Wisconsin - 2002",
Compiled by Davidson-Peterson & Associates
for the Wisconsin Department of Tourism*

http://agency.travelwisconsin.com/Research/EconomicImpact_Active/02econdata.shtm

  Number of Jobs Expenditures Revenues to State& Local Government
Three County Total (Forest, Langlade, Oneida) 7,181 $283,673,204 $43,686,574
       
23% at risk from mine opening, according to poll 23% of Jobs 23% of Expenditures 23% of Revenue to Government
  1,651 $65,244, $10,047,912

 

Tourism in the Six Counties Containing the Wolf River

Forest, Langlade, Menominee, Shawano, Waupaca, and Winebago Counties

  Number of Jobs Expenditures Revenues to State& Local Government
Six County Total 13,993 $478,594,503 $72,500,649

 


   Oppose a sulfide mine in Northern Wisconsin
Statewide    55.2%        Northeastern Wisconsin    57%

Support a ban on the use of cyanide in Wisconsin mines
Statewide     58.3%        Northeastern Wisconsin     65%

Require mine operators to meet the same groundwater and
hazardous waste standards as other Wisconsin industries

Statewide    90.3%        Northeastern Wisconsin     89%

Deny state mining permits to documented polluters
Statewide    70.5%        Northeastern Wisconsin    65%




For immediate release, July 31, 2001

Contact: Dave Blouin, Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin
608-233-8455 burroak15@aol.com.
Zoltan Grossman, Midwest Treaty Network /
Wolf Watershed Educational Project. 608-246-2256 mtn@igc.org.



Madison, WI--A new poll by Chamberlain Research Consultants, a respected Madison-based opinion research firm, shows majority public opposition throughout Wisconsin to new metallic sulfide mines and the planned use of cyanide in these mines. Environmentalists hailed the poll as demonstrating that opposition to the Crandon mine (and other potential mines) has grown since the mining moratorium fight of 1997-98, especially among Republican Party members and Northeastern Wisconsin residents living closest to the proposed Crandon mine site near the Wolf River.

The statewide polling found support for the ban on cyanide in mining by a more than 3 to 1 margin, with 60% of those polled in favor. On the question of sulfide mining in northern Wisconsin, 55% statewide were opposed to locating a sulfide mine in northern Wisconsin. Two other issues were polled: strengthened "Bad Actor" legislation and "Equal Treatment" legislation requiring mining to meet the same environmental regulations as other state industry. State residents strongly support Bad Actor (70%) and Equal Treatment (90%). Chamberlain Research surveyed 600 Wisconsin residents age 21 and over during the first two weeks in June this year. The poll used standard polling techniques and can be projected to the population at large with a 95% degree of certainty.

Environmentalists, Native American nations, sportfishing groups, and others have for years opposed the proposed Crandon zinc-copper mine next to the Mole Lake Chippewa Reservation, and possible gold mines elsewhere in northern Wisconsin. The Australian/South African mining conglomerate BHP Billiton now owns the mine project. According to DNR consultant Andres Trevino, the mine would use up to 200 tons a year of cyanide in ore processing.

Wisconsin Republicans in the poll supported a prohibition on the use of cyanide in all Wisconsin mines by 2 to 1. Republican Party supporters also opposed new metallic sulfide mines in northern Wisconsin by a plurality of 42 percent to 35 percent. "The Republican Party has been recently criticized around the country for having anti-environmental policies. But we can see that Republican Party supporters here in Wisconsin have a stronger environmental concern," said Zoltan Grossman of the Midwest Treaty Network's Wolf Watershed Educational Project, "Cyanide in mining is the Wisconsin version of the national controversy over arsenic in drinking water."

"The cyanide issue offers moderate Republicans a chance to show their true environmental colors, and offers an environmental litmus test to Republican leadership." said Dave Blouin, Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin, "Cyanide is presently not being used in this pristine area of northern Wisconsin. We are finding that many Republicans do not want toxic cyanide dumped in the headwaters of our northern rivers. They also do not want their leaders to be perceived as pro-cyanide leading up to next year's election." Republican Assembly Representatives Judy Krawczyk (R-Green Bay) and Terri McCormick (R-Appleton) attended Monday's Green Bay press conference releasing the poll, which was commissioned by the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

George Rock, a Wolf River sportfisherman and Wolf Watershed Educational Project leader, pointed out that the poll showed a majority of northeastern Wisconsin residents opposed both new mines and the use of cyanide in these mines. He explained that, "This poll shows the success of our alliance that has brought together tribes and sportfishers, environmentalists with unionists, and students with rural residents. It also shows that people around the proposed mine site do not buy the mining company's promise of jobs, but see their existing tourism jobs as threatened by mining."

Senator Russ Decker has introduced Senate Bill 160 (a companion to Assembly Bill 95) to ban the use of cyanide in all Wisconsin mines. The bill won approval in the Senate Environmental Resources Committee in May, and will be voted on by the full Senate in October. Blouin said that "Attempts will be made to single out and exempt the Crandon mine from the prohibition on cyanide, for the sole purpose of allowing the only currently proposed mine to go forward. But the poll confirms strong public support for Senator Decker's bill to ban cyanide in all Wisconsin mines, without exceptions. The public is not supportive of any new metallic mines, much less any that use such a chemical so threatening to northern game fish."

Five counties have passed resolutions supporting a cyanide ban in mining (Rusk, Langlade, Shawano, Brown and Milwaukee), joined by three tribes and at least 16 local governments in the Wolf-Fox river watershed. More than 13,000 Wisconsin citizens have signed a cyanide ban petition, and environmental, sportfishing, tribal, union and student groups have signed on to the Wisconsin Campaign to Ban Cyanide in Mining.


For more information, log on No Crandon Mine at http://www.nocrandonmine.com,
and follow the link to the Wisconsin Campaign to Ban Cyanide in Mining: http://treaty.indigneousnative.org/cyanide.html

A petition and local government resolution can be printed from the website, and sent to the Campaign at PO Box 14382, Madison WI 53714 (toll-free Hotline at 800-445-8615). The Campaign urged supporters to ask their lawmakers not only to vote for Senate Bill 160 and Assembly Bill 95 to ban cyanide in all Wisconsin mines, but also to vote against any exemptions to the ban that would allow the Crandon mine to open. (Call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 800-362-9472, and write via the State Capitol, Madison WI 53702).

 

 

Credit: Susan Simenski Bietila agitartgal@hotmail.com


 

     


    Forest County Potawatomi Community
    For Immediate Release: July 30, 2001

    For more information contact: Bill McClenahan, (414) 405-1051



    WISCONSIN CITIZENS OPPOSE
    SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR MINING

     

    Crandon, Wis.: Wisconsin residents strongly believe mining should be required to meet the same environmental standards as other industries according to a recent statewide poll commissioned by the Forest County Potawatomi Community. The poll finds that statewide, Wisconsin citizens are 18 to 1 in favor of requiring mines to meet the same groundwater and hazardous waste standards as other industries; more than 3 to 1 in support of a ban on the use of cyanide in mining; and, almost 4 to 1 against allowing companies with an history of pollution to mine in Wisconsin.

    The scientific and random telephone poll surveyed 600 Wisconsin residents age 21 and over during the first two weeks of June 2001. The poll, conducted by Chamberlain Research Consultants of Madison, used standard polling techniques and can be projected to the population at large with a 95% degree of certainty.

    "We are pleased to announce that Wisconsin residents of all ages, political parties, incomes, religions, occupations and geographic regions believe mining should be held to the same environmental standards as other industries," said Jeff Crawford, the Forest County Potawatomi Community Attorney General. "Stated simply, Wisconsin citizens do not want mining to have special treatment."

    The poll shows the level of support for requiring mining to meet the same environmental standards as other industry remains high even in traditional mining areas like Northern Wisconsin, where historically mining has had its most vocal allies. In the Wausau/Rhinelander media market, 95% of those polled were in favor of requiring mines to meet the same groundwater and hazardous waste standards as other industries. Also, 65% of Northeastern Wisconsin supports a ban on cyanide in mining.

    The poll also shows support for strict mining regulations is higher than average in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. For instance, while 60% of the state supports a ban on cyanide in mining, 64% of residents in the Green Bay/Appleton media market support the ban. In addition, while 70% of the state supports refusing mining permits to companies with a history of environmental pollution, 76% of the 8th Congressional district is in favor of refusing a mining permit to such a company.

    Currently, Wisconsin mines are allowed to pollute within 1,200 feet of a mine or tailings dump while other solid waste facilities, such as landfills, are required to meet groundwater standards within 300 feet. In addition, unlike other industries that handle hazardous materials, mining is exempt from hazardous waste regulations. Wisconsin law also contains several loopholes that allow companies to obtain mining permits despite records of pollution.

    "There is a belief that Wisconsin has strong environmental regulations for mining," continued Attorney General Crawford. "However, mining is not required to meet the same environmental standards as other industries. Mining is able to take advantage of significant loopholes in Wisconsin law that allows it to pollute more than other industries."

    In addition to showing statewide support for requiring mining to meet the same environmental standards as other industries, the poll shows that Wisconsin residents oppose locating a sulfide mine in Northern Wisconsin. Statewide, 55% oppose locating a sulfide mine in Northern Wisconsin while 24% support such a mine. Opposition to mining rises in Green Bay and the Fox Valley where 61% of the Green Bay/Appleton media market is opposed and 60% of the 8th Congressional district is opposed.

    "We are gratified that people throughout Wisconsin are united in believing we need better laws governing the impacts of mining," said Chairman Gus Frank of the Forest County Potawatomi Community. "It is our hope that the leaders of Wisconsin are listening to what people throughout Wisconsin are saying and will take appropriate action to bring equal treatment to mining."


    FOREST COUNTY POTAWATOMI COMMUNITY
    8000 Potawatomi Trail
    P.O. Box 340
    Crandon, WI 54520

     

 


    Forest County Potawatomi Tribe Releases Mining Study http://www.msnbc.com/local/WGBA/M74178.asp

     

    De Pere, WI, July 30 - A new survey shows that Wisconsin residents are against laws that allow mining companies to pollute at higher levels than other industries.

    THE STUDY WAS commissioned by the Forest County Potawatomi tribe. A Madison research firm surveyed 600 state residents.

    The tribe's attorney general says the survey shows that Wisconsin residents don't want the mining industry to get special treatment. The survey says this includes areas where many people are employed by the mining industry.

    The survey shows that three in four residents support a ban on cyanide mining, like a proposed mine in Crandon. Four out of five residents want to keep mining companies with a history of damaging the environment out of Wisconsin.

 


    Poll: Most Residents Oppose Mine Project



    By Peter Rebhahn
    Green Bay Press-Gazette
    July 31, 2001
    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/news/archive/local_837320.shtml


    Poll highlights:

    Here's how responses from residents of the Green Bay and Appleton areas compared with residents statewide in the mining poll.

    Oppose a sulfide mine in Northern Wisconsin
    Statewide    55.2%      Green Bay, Appleton    61.1%

    Support a ban on the use of cyanide in Wisconsin mines
    Statewide    58.3%      Green Bay, Appleton   64.3%

    Require mine operators to meet the same groundwater and hazardous waste standards as other Wisconsin industries
    Statewide    90.3%      Green Bay, Appleton    88.1%

    Deny state mining permits to documented polluters
    Statewide    70.5%      Green Bay, Appleton    69.8 %

    DE PERE --Results of a poll released Monday show that most Wisconsin residents oppose a copper and zinc mine proposed for the headwaters of the Wolf River near Crandon.

    More than 55 percent of 600 state residents polled said they oppose the sulfide mine proposed by Nicolet Minerals Co. Twenty-four percent said they supported the mine, and 21 percent said they weren't sure.

    Opposition to the mine was even stronger in Green Bay and the Fox Valley, where 61 percent of those polled said they opposed the mine.

    The poll by Madison-based Chamberlain Research Consultants was conducted in June, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

    The Forest County Potawatomi Community commissioned the poll. Potawatomi tribal Chairman Gus Frank said at a news conference at Voyageur Park on Monday that the results confirm what tribe members long suspected. "The people are concerned about the impact of mechanical mining," he said.

    The poll also found that residents support by a 3-1 margin a bill pending in the Legislature that would ban the use of cyanide in mining in Wisconsin.

    Polled residents also favored by nearly a 4-1 margin new legislation to allow the state to refuse mining permits to companies with a history of pollution or environmental damage.

    Sulfide minerals exposed to air and rain form acids that can contaminate nearby lakes and rivers for generations. Cyanide spilled in mine processes unlike the one Nicolet Minerals proposes for Crandon have devastated rivers in Europe and the western United States.

    More than 90 percent of those polled also said they're in favor of new legislation that would plug loopholes in current law, which let mine operators follow less rigorous groundwater and hazardous waste standards than other industries.

    Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, said he plans to introduce a bill that will hold mine operators to toughened standards.

    "It just makes sense, Hansen said. "Waste produced by mining stays forever."

    State Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, a staunch mine opponent and author of the cyanide ban bill, said he isn't surprised by the poll results. "This poll confirms with specific data what I've sensed in conversations with citizens across the state," Black said.

 


    Tougher Rules For Mining Have Bipartisan Support

    A new poll shows a majority oppose a metallic sulfide mine near Crandon



    By Warren Bluhm
    Green Bay News-Chronicle
    July 31, 2001
    http://www.greenbaynewschron.com/page.html?article=109026


    DE PERE - Representatives from both sides of the political aisle spoke strongly in support of holding metallic sulfide mines to the same environmental standards as any other industry, during a news conference at Voyageur Park on Monday organized by the Forest County Potawatomi Community.

    The tribe commissioned a poll that found more than 90 percent of Wisconsin residents favor requiring mines to meet the same groundwater and hazardous waste standards. The poll was directed at the proposed zinc and copper mine near Crandon, which has been moving slowly through the state permit process for years.

    State Rep. Judy Krawczyk, R-Green Bay, said Milwaukee-area and Illinois residents have told her they are willing to travel up to eight hours to Wisconsin's northwoods because "there's nothing like it where they live." She said any environmental damage done by the Crandon mine would have a domino effect, especially to the Wolf River.

    "Whatever we do, the Wolf River is going to trickle down to our waters here, which we've spent years cleaning up," Krawczyk said. "And now what's going to happen, we're going to get it cleaned up and they're going to say 'Oh my gosh, now we have a new pollutant in our waterway.'"

    State Sen. Dave Hansen (.pdf), D-Green Bay, said he plans to introduce legislation that would require metallic mining to meet the same state and federal environmental standards as any other business.

    "When the mine closes - and it will - and the mining company leaves - and they will - the waste doesn't go with. The waste stays," Hansen said. "Not for 10 or 20 years. Not even for 50 or 60 years. Waste produced by mining stays forever."

    State Rep. Terri McCormick, R-Appleton, said citizens need to be stewards of water and other natural resources for the sake of future generations.

    "We in the state of Wisconsin are vulnerable to international corporations that can come in and be treated differently," McCormick said. "It's time for that to stop."

    Jeff Crawford, attorney general of the Forest County Potawatomi, said the three lawmakers' presence at the news conference reflected the poll's findings, which crossed party lines:

    - Some 96 percent of Democrats, 94 percent of independents, and 82 percent of Republicans favor holding mines to the same standards as other industries.

    - Fifty-eight percent of state residents support a ban on the use of cyanide in metallic mining, and the number increases to 64.3 percent in the Green Bay and Appleton area.

    - More than two thirds - 70.5 percent - support passage of a "bad actor" provision that would deny mining permits to any company with more than three documented cases of pollution or environmental damages.

    - By a 2-1 margin - 55.2 to 23.8 percent - respondents said they oppose any metallic sulfide mine in northern Wisconsin. Democrats oppose the mine 67 to 17 percent, independents 61 to 22 percent, and Republicans 42 to 35 percent.

    Cristina Danforth, vice chairwoman of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, said the Oneida strongly support the Forest County Potawatomis' efforts in opposition to the Crandon mine.

    "It's an important issue for the environment, for the people and for future generations," Danforth said. "We hold that responsibility very seriously."

    The poll was taken during the first two weeks in June by Chamberlain Research Consultants of Madison. Pollsters surveyed 600 Wisconsin residents age 21 and older and can be projected to the population at large with a 95 percent degree of certainty, Crawford said.

 

 

Green Bay Press-Gazette.com
People's Poll, August 2001
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/00ssi/gbpg/polls/local/pollresults.shtml


What is the greatest threat associated with the Crandon mine project?

Damage to area water supply 55.6%

Destruction of forest lands 9.2%

Transportation of cyanide across the state 9.3%

There are no threats from the mine 25.9%

Total Votes: 773

 

 

 

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Background Articles on Cyanide in Mining:
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Poll shows majority opposes mining, cyanide in Wisconsin , July 2001
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