Genocide or suicide?
March 6, 2013
State Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) has built a lengthy career pandering to the Madison Liberals who keep moving to his district as they flee the mess they’ve made of the capital city.
But Schultz has now gone one pander too far, flirting with far-left hate-speech that accuses Republicans of “genocide” in the protracted struggle to reform Wisconsin’s iron-mining law. In Thursday’s debate before Senate passage of the mining bill, Schultz waxed eloquent over “rare and unique wetland communities” and the Lake Superior watershed being “the most pristine watershed in our state.”
No argument there, but he should be more careful. Schultz added that “The Lake Superior Chippewa see [the mining bill] as nothing less than genocide.” Noxious rhetoric aside, if genocide is measured by damage to tribal waters, suicide might be the more appropriate term.
Last spring, data examined by the New York Times identified the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa—operators of a wastewater treatment plant in Odanah—as the most persistent, serial water polluters in Wisconsin. The story was covered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week AFTER it was exposed by Media Trackers.
But despite the tribe’s designation as Wisconsin’s number one polluter, the EPA recently granted the Bad River Band authority to regulate water quality outside the reservation. Now the tribe wants permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in, without replacing, some of the wetlands it supposedly reveres. This is something no iron mine would be allowed to do under pending legislation.
Near the end of Thursday’s debate, Senator Nikiya Harris (D-Milwaukee) spoke with apparent sincerity about having attended a tribal water ceremony, saying the Chippewa “bless the water” and hold it “sacred.”
That’s fine. Now perhaps in addition to blessing the water, they might subject it to primary treatment.