In Wisconsin, Friction Between Tourism and Mining

The article "Wisconsin Boycott Call," Feb. 26, reports an erroneous accusation by Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson that I urged tourists not to visit our beautiful state. The truth is that I have very real concerns about the effects of mining on Wisconsin's environment and our very important tourism industry. The misinterpreted part of my letter reads: "Before it is too late, and northern Wisconsin becomes the domain of Superfund clean-up crews and EPA rescue dollars, we need your help. Please write to Gov. Tommy Thompson to express your opposition to mining in the state as well as your lack of enthusiasm about making future trips to our state while serious environmental degradation is underway."

Of course I want our friends in other states to continue to come here. My goal is to protect our tourism industry and the thousands of jobs and millions of dollars it can generate for hundreds of years to come - if we do everything we can to protect our environment.

Mining companies have been quietly buying up mineral rights on thousands of acres of our North Woods. The northern third of the state is now known by justifiably alarmed citizens as "the mining district." Many of us who live in Wisconsin are alarmed and angry at what is about to happen to our beautiful state. For example, an open pit mine approved by the Department of Natural Resources is only 140 feet from the Flambeau River.

The risks from mining are great - air and water pollution, scarred land, and groundwater contamination. The promises of mining are a few jobs and a few tax dollars for a very few years. Our state and our nation need much tougher mining laws, and without them mining and tourism may well be incompatible.

Doug La Follette Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin Secretary of State

Don't punish a suffering nation

The editorial "In the Wake of War," Feb. 26, raises some important issues about the postwar situation in the Gulf.

However, I am somewhat troubled by the implication that it is Iraq - the country - that is responsible for the considerable destruction and murder that occurred. A clear distinction must be made between the Iraqi government and its people. It was Iraqi individuals who carried out these acts, but years of military rule by Saddam Hussein, characterized by repression, war, and fear, must surely have furthered the nightmare scenario that occurred.

It is painfully apparent that the citizens of Iraq have been disenfranchised by their own government, which built a huge and aggressive military presence while neglecting the citizenry. Demanding large war reparations from this physically and mentally impoverished nation is not in the best interests of Kuwait, the region, or the world.

The UN needs to look carefully at this aspect and put first the well-being of people, both in Kuwait and Iraq, before demanding that one nation already suffering be forced to endure further hardship because of its government's barbarous actions.

Gretchen Garrity Fort Ord, Calif.

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