The hypocrisy of Chief Mike Wiggins and his bad river

Scott Walker signed the historic mining bill last week, but that doesn’t mean jobs will suddenly materialize in Northern and Southeastern Wisconsin anytime soon. Legal challenges from clean water groups and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will take the place of legislative debate in this long fought battle.

Bad River Chairman Mike Wiggins Jr. promised “active resistance” that will include filing lawsuits to stop the occupation of the mine site. He said the reservation and its waters are sacred and tribal members won’t allow it to be polluted.

Wiggins and the clean water activists assert that the runoff from the mine and the mining process will pollute the sacred waters of the Bad River and eventually Lake Superior. As stewards of the environment, the Bad River Nation has a moral duty to make sure these waters remain unsullied and pristine for themselves and all people.

As Bart Simpson would say, “What a load of crappy, crap, crap.”

Wiggins is an opportunist in the first degree. While he pontificates about the sacred nature of his tribe’s attachment to the water of the Bad River and Lake Superior, his tribal water treatment plant is the worst polluter in the state, dumping untreated water and effluent solids (translation, poop) into the very waters he says his ancestors are making him protect.

Talk about pointing out the stye in the other guy’s eye while there is a log wedged in your own eye, to paraphrase the Holy Book.

And where are all the friends of the water and streams and rivers when Tom Barrett’s water treatment plant is dumping the same crap in the waters of Lake Michigan. Just because there isn’t a reservation in Milwaukee means it’s okay to dump poop and garbage into Southeastern Wisconsin’s source of drinking water? Where are the lawsuits against Barrett and his effluent dumping machine?

I look forward to heading to Mercer or Hurley or Mellen in a few years and seeing these little cities booming from the jobs that will be created from the mine. There is no question that these communities, with unemployment rates hovering in the low teens, will see a transformation with the mine.

But it won’t be in terms of pollution and increased disease. It will be from the jobs and economic growth that will come from a multi-billion dollar ore vein that will finally be allowed to be freed.



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