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home : opinions : your opinions September 14, 2014


9/18/2013 12:58:00 PM
Proposal assaults state's traditions
Dee Taylor, Rice Lake

Citizens should not be deprived of enjoying 4,000 acres of forestland around the proposed taconite mine in northern Wisconsin. This proposal is designed to help one company at the expense of state and local taxpayers. It would restrict public access and recreational use of 4,000 acres of managed forestland in northern Wisconsin to hunters, fishers, hikers, and other recreational activities. That is an assault on Wisconsin's values and long-held traditions.
The Managed ForestLaw is a generous tax relief program created in 1985 to encourage timber production and provide more recreation space for outdoor activities. Under this program, owners receive a tax break if they agree to maintain a Department of Natural Resources approved MFL plan and keep the property open to the public. Under this bill, this one company could avoid the restrictions that are in place for 30,000 Wisconsin landowners who participate in the program and follow the rules. It would close access for 4,000 acres of MFL indefinitely.
The DNR states that the taxpayers will be shortchanged by $891,000 if this law was passed. Is one company more important than the taxpayers of Wisconsin? I think not!
One incident in June by foul-mouthed individuals has allowed this company to play the victim and hire an out-of-state security firm carrying assault weapons. Now it is asking to close 4,000 acres of forestland to the public. This law written for this one company creates exclusive control over what has been considered land for public access.
Earlier this year legislation was passed that actually allowed this company to rewrite state iron mining regulations in their favor. Favoritism of one company and against the public and Wisconsin taxpayers cannot be allowed to stand.
A bipartisan common sense plan has been offered. It would create a public safety zone around bulk sampling and drilling locations to protect workers and the public. It would require football field separation from the bulk sampling sites and a 50-foot safety zone away from a drill site. If explosives would be used, a separate safety zone could be determined by permitting agencies. This appears to be a more logical and fair plan than closing 4,000 acres.
Citizens of Wisconsin-do not let our state be sold. We the people of Wisconsin must not lose our state!

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