Wisconsin voters from every corner of the state have made themselves perfectly clear–They do not support rolling back protections for air and water, especially when it’s for the benefit of a single out-of-state mining company.
Even the conservative-leaning Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) was able to validate that claim. In a poll released October 30, 2011, respondents stated that they believe “environmental regulations should not be weakened” in order to create mining jobs in northern Wisconsin” by a convincing 14% margin.1 Important for legislators to note, those voters who consider themselves independents oppose the weakening of environmental regulations by a 10% margin. Women especially oppose the measure (53-33%).
Further evidence that voters just aren’t that into it comes from the enormous amount of citizen engagement against the issue in recent months:
- Since last fall, citizens have made hundreds of phone calls to their own state legislators asking them to protect clean air, clean water and local control in mining legislation.
- Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters alone has received more than 2,500 emails from members statewide detailing their strong opposition to rollbacks to environmental protections.
- In October of 2011, nearly 100 conservation leaders, representing the entire state, took to the Capitol for a Special Conservation Lobby Day on Mining. The group proactively worked with legislators to avoid the pitfalls we’re seeing in the current Assembly Mining Bill.
- Legislative cheerleaders of the Assembly Mining Bill received a chilly reception at the West Allis hearing in December where opposition outnumbered supporters nearly two to one. In fact, more than 200 opponents appeared at the hearing despite the fact that it was held 350 miles from the latest proposed mine site on a day with inclement weather.
- January 11th’s hearing in Hurley had similar breakdown with unofficial results showing at least 60% opposition, a definite blow to the mine-backers who expected a much different turnout in Hurley.