Gogebic Taconite (GTac) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce misled legislators with claims that the proposed iron ore in Ashland and Iron counties is more environmentally safe compared to metallic sulfide mining and thus requires separate regulations. GTac and WMC claimed that taconite ores do not contain sulfide minerals such as pyrite, which can produce acid mine drainage and poison local water supplies with dissolved toxic metals such as mercury, arsenic and lead. This claim is false.
Both the Wisconsin Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey have confirmed that there is pyrite associated with the ore and waste rock. State legislators who voted for the law written by GTac were deliberately misled about the safety of taconite mining and cast votes based on unproven mining industry rhetoric over scientific fact.
Wisconsin already has a "prove it first" law for mining in metallic sulfides. It simply requires an example mine where sulfide mining has not caused pollution. No proof, no permit. There is no scientific reason GTac should be exempt from this permit condition.