October 30, 2014

Mining gets attention this month

The state Senate’s new mining committee is scheduled to hold informational meetings this month to learn more about what a possible new mining bill should include.

The panel’s chairman Tim Cullen wants to start from scratch. “I thought we had the chance … to go back to point zero and let’s learn a couple things. One, what is Wisconsin’s mining law? What’s the basis for it? Why is it the way it is? And if it should be changed at all, how should it be changed and why?”

The Janesville Democrat says it’s also important to clarify a significant point that he believes hadn’t been addressed in the last legislative session. “Wisconsin’s not the only player in deciding whether a mining company gets a permit.”

Cullen says during the last session, the legislature wanted to speed up passage of the bill as if there were no existence of these other entities.

All new discussions could be moot after November elections if Republicans regain control of the Senate. A mining bill that passed the Assembly earlier this year would have made it easier for Gogebic Taconite to start construction on a $1.5 billion open-pit iron ore mine up north in Iron and Ashland Counties, but that legislation failed in the Senate.

Wisconsin Senate’s Select Committee on Mining has scheduled meetings at the state Capitol on September 18th, 20th, and 25th.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:27