What follows is a press released from Wisconsin Democratic Party Senator Dave Hansen dated 3/4/13:
(Madison)—A little known provision tucked inside the state budget that would repeal a law in place since 1887 that protects Wisconsin land from being controlled by large foreign corporations or governments is leading people to question why the change is being made, who stands to benefit and why is the provision buried deep inside the state budget?
“People deserve to know the details behind this mysterious effort to repeal a longstanding law that is in place to preserve the state’s economic sovereignty, especially during a time when foreign countries like China are becoming increasingly aggressive in their attempts to gain economic advantage over the United States,” said Hansen.
Some are questioning whether the provision is somehow tied to a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin and whether it is designed to clear the way for the mining rights to be sold to a foreign competitor like China.
“Throughout the mining debate we heard over and over again that Gogebic Mining, which does coal mining and owns the rights to the mineral deposit in northern Wisconsin, has no interest in actually doing the mining themselves, that they would prefer to sell the rights to someone else,” said Hansen.
“Perhaps it’s a coincidence that we now find out about this obscure provision that could allow the mine to be sold to a Chinese-owned corporation. Whatever the answers, people have a right to know who is behind this, who stands to benefit and why this provision is buried in the budget rather than being debated on its own merits.”
China is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and as one of the world’s largest markets they have the ability to affect supply and prices. China has also recently begun expanding its mining operations outside of its borders, including opening the massive Sino Iron project at Cape Preston, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Others have suggested it could be related to the Governor’s announced trip to China in April or to plans by foreign corporations to buy up large tracts of farmland.
“Whatever the reason, people have a right to know the answers to yet another mystery wrapped inside the riddle that is the Republican state budget.”