Last week, Wisconsin Republicans passed a law that weakens environmental protections and will streamline the construction of what may be the largest iron ore mine in the world. This was done despite the fact that the mine may poison nearby water streams with arsenic, lead, and mercury. This is particularly a danger to the nearby Native American communities, who have opposed the mine.
But while Republicans fell in line to support this attack on the environment, one freshman Democrat gave a fiery speech against it — standing as an example for all Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Katrina Shankland, a former Progressive Change Campaign Committee fellow, denounced the plan for the mine, warning that “the will of the people, not the mining company is the law of the land.”
Shankland went on to reference the Native testimony about the bill: “At the only mining bill hearing they had this session they testified from a place of truth. The talked about the wild rice beds. They talked about their families. They talked about their water. And you know what they said? They said that supporting this bill would be equivalent to genocide. And I’m saying that today because they said it and you should listen to them. Polluting an entire watershed for profit is contributing to genocide. And history is on their side.”
Watch Shankland’s speech: