State Sen. Rob Cowles, the Green Bay area Republican who for many years has been a voice of reason on environmental issues, faces a critical test as the Legislature takes up a mining bill promoted by Gov. Scott Walker and out-of-state corporate interests.
The legislation, as it is now written, would allow for the destruction of wetlands in one of the most ecologically sensitive regions of the state.
There is no question of the threat — not just to the environment and public health but to the northern Wisconsin tourism industry, which would be devastated by damage to the lakes and streams of the region.
For Cowles, this should be a simple choice.
As the legislation is currently written, no one who has the slightest concern for the environment can vote for the bill.
Nor can anyone who understands and respects the conservation concerns of sportsmen and women who hunt and fish in northern Wisconsin.
Nor can anyone who recognizes that the tourism industry requires protection of the environment.
The only "yes" votes for this legislation will come from legislators who are more loyal to the governor than to the environment or smart economic development.
We certainly hope that Cowles, who for so many years has identified environmental protection as one of his chief concerns, will join responsible legislators of both parties in voting "no" to the legislation as it is now stands.
Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.