hey Scott, *steps on high horse* lemme share some science with you about this proposed iron ore mine. Yes, I get it that steel is one of the pillars of an industrialized economy (next to oil), but what are the long term prospects of this deal? Will this leak iron oxides into northern Wisconsin’s water table? Most assuredly. Problem? When these react with oxygen to form ferric oxides, this creates a yellow sludge at the bottom of streams and lakes, preventing plants, algae and some insects from growing. This is called “yellow boy” (read this article).
Know what happens when you knock out the producers of an ecosystem? Everything on top is strangled. Fish and birds don’t have anything to eat. Starting to see the picture here? Iron oxides can even cause respiratory damage, especially for those with asthma or allergies.
Ok, let’s be honest, economics is more of your thing than science, so let’s talk economics. Many such iron deposits have already been mined. It is easy to determine we do have iron in this part of the state. Seems like a valuable thing for us to take advantage of, right? Let’s focus on the potential profits and job prospects.
Production Costs: Iron ore is a low margin product, and it’s prices are expected to drop in the future. Yes, China is a major consumer of iron ore, but how will this change as their economy is slowing? Answer: unfavorable outlook on long-term profit.
Job prospects: How long will these 700 jobs last? As long as the mine is operating. How can these possibly be long-term jobs? The first phase was estimated at 35 years, but even if the total life is 100 years, these jobs WILL end. How is this mine enabling a better future for Wisconsin and it’s citizens? The Earth has limited natural resources, and the huge $1.5B investment will be worthless once the ore is mined. What would be a better use of that money? Investing in schools, teachers, and better educating the children who will be shaping our future. We need to be looking at emerging markets, new technologies, and better understanding the world through science so we can preserve our precious planet for countless generations to come. Here’s some food for thought about our potential future economy.
The good news, Scott, is that this iron isn’t going anywhere. Let’s invest in better ways to extract our natural resources without harming the environment. We need a sustainable long-term economic plan for Wisconsin, and passing this bill is not doing that. Am I an expert in waste water runoff, ecology, or economics? No, but in less than one hour I gathered all this research and came to my conclusions. Maybe you should take a couple hours yourself, being governor and all.
*steps off high horse*