Trempealeau County Board Supervisor David Suchla has been accused of threatening a high-level county administrator to keep silent about a business relationship that Suchla had with a Texas-based company interested in mining silica sand in the supervisor's district. The administrator, Environment and Land Use Director Kevin Lien, recently discovered Suchla's business ties from a document that someone inadvertently left on a table at the courthouse.The article goes on how Suchla was acting like a big fish in a little pond and using coercion and bribery to get mining permits approved, which would have greatly benefited him personally.
Suchla's accuser is fellow County Supervisor Sally Miller, who has said in a sworn statement that Suchla told Lien to "forget he saw" the document and "nip it in the bud or else." Lien said Miller's account is accurate.
LaCrosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke told the Star Tribune he will decide over the next few weeks whether to prosecute under a Wisconsin law that bars local government officials from personally benefiting from their positions.
Sadly, this is not the only example of this sort of story.
In Union, Wisconsin, located in Waupaca County, the town chair, Roger Henschel, was pushing for a frac sand mine to be permitted. Lo and behold, Henschel owns a great deal of the land that the mining company would end up buying.
Despite strong resistance to the mine, a Waupaca County committee has approved a conditional permit for the mine. Opponents have already filed an appeal against this horrible decision.
Across the state, the mining companies had given over $750,000 to candidates in order to buy the mining rights to our homes and backyards, even though studies are showing it is creating almost no jobs and having no significant impact on the state's economy. As one might imagine, the biggest fracking sellout was none other than Scott Walker.
Bill Berry wrote over a year ago that these frac sand mines were going to be trouble for rural Wisconsin. Time has proven his warning to be accurately, not only for the corrupt politics but also as an environmental threat.
I think Berry was also correct in saying that the way to overcome this and put things to right is good old fashioned citizen activism.
History has shown us that people always come before profits.