Bad River Band Leader Again Appeals to Milwaukee to Fight Mine

Feb 12, 2013

Chairman Mike Wiggins (left) shared his mining misgivings with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee
Credit Susan Bence

For the second time in a matter of weeks, the head of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa traveled hundreds of miles to Milwaukee. Mike Wiggins hopes to sway public opinion against the wisdom of an iron ore mine upstream from his tribe’s reservation near Lake Superior.

Wiggins appealed to the Rotary Club of Milwaukee as a GOP-driven bill barrels through the Legislature. It would streamline the permitting process in order to provide certainty to the interested company.

Wiggins says the bill would wield a devastating blow to the region’s air and water.

“Ground water aquifer contamination; you can’t engineer your way out of that. You can engineer processing plants and we see that with Culligan and Coke and everybody else selling water – privatization of water well, you can engineer that; but for our home and our people - what is essentially a basic human right; poisoning or contaminating the ground water aquifer in our mind is non negotiable and unacceptable.”

Wiggins says the tribe will use every tool it has – from tribal to fundamental human rights - to protect its air and water.

The Rotary Club plans to consider both sides of the heated mining debate.

Next week, the group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce will step up to the podium. WMC is a strong proponent of the proposed legislation and the hundreds of jobs it represents.