Madison Area Group to Support Northing Wisconsin Anti-Mining Effort

A grassroots group calling itself “”Madison for the Penokees” will hold a demonstration Wednesday. Members plan to show solidarity with anti-mining groups 300 miles to their north by protesting a proposed Assembly mining bill.

This loosely formed group may not have officers and bylaws, but they are passionate about efforts by the legislature to speed-up iron ore mine permitting. Carl Sack is a student at UW-Madison and counts himself as a member of “Madison for the Penokees”. The Penokee Range is the site of a proposed $1.5 billion iron ore mine. “No matter what amendments they make to this bill, it is so toxic, it has to be thrown out entirely and they have to start over,” he says. “That’s why we’re calling this protect ‘Bury the Bill’. Because it doesn’t matter what anybody does to it to change it. It’s going to damage our environmental regulations and local control.”

Amy Mondloch runs the Madison-based Grassroots Leadership College. She says their connections with northern Wisconsin activists date back to efforts to stop a zinc and copper mine near Crandon in the 1990’s. She says having operations in Madison are critical.

“It’s essential to have folks here on the ground who can be doing the work and getting folks to the hearing down here and arranging things like the rally next Wednesday, doing the on-the-ground support work,” she says.

Jacob Barnes of Woodman says they’ve invited 2400 people to the protest. He says it’s important for southern Wisconsin to connect with the northern part of the state.

“We’re all connected,” he says. “We all benefit from clean water. We’re all effected by bills like this.”

The Assembly mining regulation bill is expected to get a vote Thursday.