The Fine Art of Green Washing

I am writing to express my thoughts and concerns about the presentation by Green Light Metals on Tuesday, August 2, at the Environmental Resources Committee of Marathon County. I felt several Marathon County Board members asked some very good questions. Their questions, however, did not receive adequate answers.

Green Light Metals should not be trusted. Their board of directors is made up of the last mining company, Aquila. Just because they have a shack in Medford, does not make them a Wisconsin based company either. This is a Canadian company. When the mining moratorium was overturned in 2017 and the laws were re-written by the mining companies, it sadly took away much of our local control.

The majority of the presentation was erroneous. Using the Flambeau mine as an example, the presenters made it sound as though the federal lawsuit brought forth had plaintiffs seeking nothing but a monetary settlement. The plaintiffs in that case were Laura Gauger, a pharmacist, Dr. Al Gedicks from the Wisconsin resources Protection Council, and a UW professor, and David Chambers from the Center for Science in Public Participation. Dr Chambers works with mining and water quality. This hardly seems like a bunch out for a quick buck. The mining company would like to form an advisory council. On this council Green Light Metals would like to add a former Oneida County supervisor, one who is a known buddy to the mining company and did everything he could to get that mine in up north. It is no wonder they want this supervisor on “their” advisory council. Why is the mining company dictating who is on this council? With the Flambeau mine, the CEO of Green Light Metals again speaks with mendacity. There is damage with stream C that leaves it pretty much void of all life yet today. Green Light Metals made several references to mining in Michigan as well.  Keep in mind, Michigan is one of two states in the union that have a little different set of laws and permitting processes.

There are PFAS in the drilling fluids used in the drilling industry. In a June meeting that I attended, the DNR was not able to confirm any differently. They are not testing for PFAS. Colorado just banned drilling fluids with PFAS. Wis Politics picked up a press release given on this.

There was an incredible amount of “green-washing” in the presentation. The critical minerals list that came out by the U.S. Government in March included Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, Graphite, and Manganese. Nowhere on that list is gold or copper. There is plenty of gold out there and no need to mine more. Copper can be easily recycled and much more cost effectively too.  We certainly are not strengthening any domestic supply chains with the Reef Deposit or supporting any American jobs. As far as why we import some metals, look at mining in China and Peru. Now there’s two countries that have had a lot of damage done by mining! Do we want that here? Green Light Metals also talked about no deforestation. Let me give you a ride to the Schoepke drilling site up north. You could put a four-lane road in there now with the trees that have been removed. You cannot get heavy equipment between two trees that are three feet apart.

We, as citizens, need to keep pushing Green Light Metals to get questions answered. Here is a wonderful link by the Wisconsin River Alliance that will answer many sulfide mining questions.

Once that damage is done, it cannot be undone. It doesn’t seem like there is a community in our state anymore that does not suffer from some type of water woes. We need to stop this before we are next. I believe clean water is a right, it’s about our health and our environment. Our life depends on clean water.