November 27, 2014

Mining panel to start work

The state Senate Select Committee on Mining will kick-off a series of meetings on a potential mining bill. Majority Leader Mark Miller said now that his Democrats are in control of the chamber, they will be involving all stakeholders like environmentalists, citizens, and those in the business and mining communities.

Miller claims Republican-led efforts last legislative session to streamline mining permitting were done only for the interest of a certain company. Republicans claimed Democrats played politics in rejecting the legislation. Numerous mining proposals came up but none passed in what was a contentious environment in Madison.

As to how much of a priority mining legislation is to Senate Democrats this time around, “The testimony will determine that,” said Miller.

The former CEO of Bucyrus International, a mining equipment maker, believes lawmakers will pass mining legislation this session. Tim Sullivan said last week there is a lot going on “behind the scenes right now.”

“It will be introduced in January and it will pass,” said Sullivan, who chairs the Wisconsin Mining Association. “Will it be the same bill? I can’t guarantee that. I think there will be some changes to it that will probably improve it.”

The special mining panel, chaired by Tim Cullen,  meets today for an informational hearing at the capitol and will gather on Sept. 20, and Sept. 25.