Wis. State Sen. Jauch Slams WMC over Mining Letter
One state senator in Wisconsin is outraged at the “arrogant” attitude the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce displayed in a recent letter it wrote about a proposed mining bill.
That letter, which The Progressive magazine revealed yesterday, was from James A. Buchen, senior vice president of WMC, to Kennan Wood of the Wood Communications Group, who is executive director of the Wisconsin Mining Association.
Buchen made it clear that WMC was insisting that the purpose of the mining legislation it favored was to help out a single out-of-state company, Gogebic Taconite. “Pursuing legislation that does not work for them is a waste of time,” the letter said.
“That’s like saying we should be writing future deep-water-drilling regulations that only BP can accept,” says State Sen. Bob Jauch, the Democrat who represents the area of northern Wisconsin where the mine was slated to operate.
“I’m so damn mad,” he told The Progressive. “It’s a frightening letter. It reveals this arrogant, narrow, partisan, secretive, private business-controlled effort to keep the public in the dark as much as possible.”
The WMC letter mentions Jauch by name: “I think it is premature, at best, to be discussing alternative mining legislation with George Meyer, Bob Jauch, or anybody else,” it says. Here’s the context: This spring, Jauch had proposed a compromise mining bill that the Walker administration and the Republican leaders in the legislature crushed. (George Meyer is a highly respected former head of the Department of Natural Resources.)
“We were willing to make a compromise,” Jauch said. But the company and the WMC “refused the opportunity to compromise. They have no interest in compromise. They want to break government because they own government.”
“What frightens WMC,” he said, “is that we might have the audacity to find something that works well for Wisconsin but not for Gogebic Taconite.”
Jauch also said that Buchen and WMC might be wrong in believing that if Republicans regain control of the state senate in November, they’ll automatically be able to pass the bill for Gogebic Taconite.
“They presume every Republican senator is going to go along,” said Jauch. “They have now identified all Republicans as puppets of the WMC.” But Jauch, who has served in the legislature for thirty years, suggested they wouldn’t have such an easy time.
Republican state senators “Mike Ellis and Rob Cowles may say, ‘We can think for ourselves.’ They aren’t stoolies or puppets of the WMC,” Jauch said. “And Dale Schultz—they know they can’t get him.” (Schultz cast the decisive Republican vote against the Gogebic Taconite bill last term.)
Jauch expressed concern about WMC’s influence and agenda. “We know WMC thinks it has enough money to buy and own government,” he said. “Most people want to buy American. WMC wants to buy America.”
He said the letter exposes WMC’s true nature.
Said Jauch: “I was surprised they were dumb enough to put that into writing.”
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Bernie Sanders Calls Out Obama on Social Security."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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