Wisconsin has a long established reputation for excessive implementation of excessive environmental regulation. For decades state law kept the mining industry idled here. It made left wing environmental fanatics happy. Unemployed folks in Northern Wisconsin? Not so much.

 

But it is not just mining. We have put up barricades for job creators that exceed other states’ in many areas. Our regulators use these regulations as a club against any business in danger of clearing those barricades. For many years state government had paid lip service to the need for manufacturing jobs, all while the regulators did their best to stifle the growth of industry. Many jobs left the state. Most will never return.

Now, the very extremists responsible for using the law against responsible development are turning on the rule of law and making Wisconsin known for something else … allowing criminals to deny any company that clears the regulatory barricades the ability to develop jobs in our state.

Case Study: Gogebic Taconite LLC (GTac)

Against all odds, this iron mining company is pursuing state and federal approval to invest an estimated $1.5 billion in creating some 3,000 (direct and indirect) jobs in one of Wisconsin’s most impoverished areas, Iron County. The application process, while streamlined by the new law, is still likely to take up to three years and cost over $30 million dollars. There is no guarantee that at the end of the process there awaits approval of the application.

Yet, these regulatory barricades aren’t enough for environmental extremists. They support the law as long as it prevents anyone from developing anything anywhere anytime. However, when a company, like GTac, has the courage to stand up to their regulatory barricades, they resort to erecting physical ones.

Last week, masked criminals dressed just like Al Qaeda terrorists trespassed onto GTac land and attacked a GTac drilling site slashing tires, destroying and stealing equipment and assaulting a female worker. It wasn’t a heat of the moment action. This was a well planned, carefully executed assault conducted in a remote location within Wisconsin’s Northwoods. But, before their attack on a site four miles off the highway on a dirt logging road far from cell service, they built very real barricades across the logging road to cut off the workers from police help or any emergency medical assistance that may have been needed. There was no mining to disrupt, only environmental testing.

That’s the thing. Mining is not happening. Right now GTac employees are conducting state-mandated environmental testing.

The company was drilling two-inch holes into the rock for chemical testing required by the Department of Natural Recources. These employees were attacked for complying with the most stringent iron mining law in the United States.

It gets worse.

The results of the mandatory testing, done at the company’s expense, would be made available to supporters and opponents alike to make their arguments. The people who testified before the Legislature demanding answers to their environmental questions now oppose getting the answers and are willing to destroy property, attack people and threaten worse harm to prevent gathering the information they demanded.

During the debate on the bill they howled about life, about the earth and about science. Now, the cowards try to disrupt the science and jeopardize life and the earth in the process.

The Ball’s in Our Court

This is not a dispute between environmentalists and a multinational corporation.

Now it’s up to us.

Wisconsin citizens have to decide whether we stand with the law and science or are willing to simply surrender our state to a criminal mob who dress in black and cover their faces and lurk in the woods.

This is about far more than the largest private, non-utility investment in Wisconsin history. It is about the soul of our state and our image to any other investor.

Will we stand with this or any other company following the law or choose to ignore what is going on “up there” so we don’t have to see our honor and our future fall to a criminal mob? Law enforcement, including the reluctant local Sheriffs and the State Department of Justice, need to take these acts of eco-terrorism seriously. Wisconsin’s law abiding citizens on the right and the left must demand nothing less.

This isn’t a joke.

These aren’t silly hippie kids pulling pranks.

This isn’t some distant problem that doesn’t impact you.

This is home-grown domestic terrorism taking place on Wisconsin soil.

Where do you stand?