New GOP Pro-Mining Group Ran Attack Ads
Natural Resources Development Association did ads attacking mining opponents.
A new group with Republican ties was formed in August by unknown special interest backers to push for a repeal of the state’s sulfide mining moratorium, which was just passed by the legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Scott Walker.
The Natural Resource Development Association has a website and a Madison address. The association’s executive director and lobbyist is Nathan Conrad, a former Republican Party of Wisconsin communications director.
Part of the group’s credo reads: “By engaging community leaders, laborers, manufacturers, and job creators in the legislative and decision-making process, the association will help create an open atmosphere for resources development that is both environmentally sound and economically beneficial for Wisconsin.”
Some of that engagement was attack ads only weeks after the group was formed. The association sponsored digital ads attacking two opponents of the Republican plan to scrap the mining moratorium. One ad of the ads targeted Al Gedicks, executive secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council. The other ad said activist Laura Gauger was an out-of-state pharmacist who wanted to deprive northern Wisconsin of much-needed jobs.
The current moratorium requires mining companies to prove up front they have run mines before that do not pollute. This is called a “prove-it-first” clause. The bill would ditch that provision.
About two dozen special interest groups have weighed in on SB395. The measure had backing from the association and seven other organizations, including Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business group, and Americans for Prosperity, a dark money electioneering group created by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Both groups have spent more than $24 million since 2010 to back Republican and conservative candidates for legislative and statewide offices.
Opponents of the legislation included about a dozen mostly environmental groups and Indian tribes that argued that repealing the provisions of moratorium would pollute the state’s water supply and threaten the agriculture and tourism industries.
The opponents of the bill also pointed to about a dozen provisions that roll back other environmental protection laws. These provisions include:
- Weakening laws that protect wetlands and groundwater;
- Cutting the time state regulators have to issue permits;
- Reducing legal challenges of mining permits and a judge’s authority to halt mining activities;
- Repealing a state law that requires the state to deny a mine’s request for a high-capacity well that would reduce drinking water available from other wells in the area or end up reducing stream and lake levels or causing them to dry up.
- Governor Gives Corporate Mining Polluters an Early Gift - Wisconsin Conservation Voters - Dec 11th, 2017
- Governor Walker Signs “Mining for America” Bill into Law in Rhinelander - Gov. Scott Walker - Dec 11th, 2017
- Campaign Cash: New GOP Pro-Mining Group Ran Attack Ads - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Nov 10th, 2017
- Senate Strikes Job-Creating Gold with Final Passage of Mining for America Act - AFP Wisconsin - Nov 7th, 2017
- Rep. Brostoff Condemns the Sulfide Mining Bill - State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff - Nov 7th, 2017
- Their Trick is No Treat for Wisconsin’s Natural Resources - Wisconsin Conservation Voters - Oct 31st, 2017
- Sportsmen and Elected Leaders Speak Out Against Sulfide Mining Bill - Wisconsin Conservation Voters - Oct 13th, 2017
- Op Ed: What Happened to Wisconsin? - State Sen. Mark Miller - Oct 12th, 2017
- Mining Bill is a Disaster that No Amendment Can Fix - Wisconsin Conservation Voters - Oct 3rd, 2017
- Op Ed: Flambeau Mine Was Bad For State - Raj Shukla - Sep 23rd, 2017
Read more about Senate Bill 395 here